By T. D. Thornton
Churchill Downs Inc. is reportedly exploring selling off TwinSpires Racing, which the gaming corporation describes as the “premier online horse racing wagering platform in the United States.”
The financial news site Bloomberg first broke the CDI scoop at 3:40 p.m. Eastern Dec. 2, citing several sources who requested anonymity because they were sharing information that hadn't yet been divulged by the publicly traded company. A CDI official declined comment.
Bloomberg reported that CDI “is working with an adviser to solicit potential interest in the wagering platform.”
One of the sources estimated “TwinSpires could fetch $1.5 billion in any transaction.”
Bloomberg reported CDI itself has a market value of $8.8 billion.
But one of the sources quoted in that story also cautioned that “no final decision has been made,” noting that CDI could continue to own the platform.
During an Oct. 28 third-quarter earnings conference call, CDI's president and chief operating officer, Bill Mudd, gave no hint of a sale of the advance-deposit wagering platform when he answered an investor's question about what to expect regarding TwinSpires in the near future.
“I'd say, first of all, on the fourth quarter [of 2021], we're kind of entering now a very stable period for TwinSpires,” Mudd said.
At a different point in that earnings call, Bill Carstanjen, CDI's chief executive officer, noted that the TwinSpires racing handle was up 31% in the third quarter, driven by a 23% increase in active users compared to 2019, resulting in an increase of $113 million.
And Carstanjen said CDI would be devoting resources to making TwinSpires better.
“The majority of our fourth quarter maintenance capital [for 2021] is related to finishing the new turf course of Churchill Downs Racetrack, new slot purchases, and ongoing improvements to our TwinSpires horse racing platform,” Carstanjen said on that call five weeks ago.