The Rise and Fall of the TwinSpires

Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen revealed that online sportsbook TwinSpires would leave the sports betting market in February 2022 during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Although TwinSpires has had tremendous success in the horse racing betting industry, it has found it difficult to compete with the well-known operators in single-game sports betting.

Eight states, including Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, had been granted market access by TwinSpires. These states can no longer access the TwinSpires sportsbook online.

Today we will find out why TwinSpires left the sports betting market.

TwinSpires History as BetAmerica

Let’s look closer at BetAmerica’s journey in different US states.

BetAmerica Comes to Indiana

Churchill Downs Incorporated opened a retail sportsbook at the Rising Star Casino Resort in Indiana in November 2019, operating under the BetAmerica name.

More than 30 television screens were used to show games in the 3,000-square-foot space. A total of 16 automated betting kiosks and windows staffed by professional sportsbook employees were available for use by players.

BetAmerica in Pennsylvania

Later in the same year, Churchill Downs Incorporated strengthened its footprint in the Keystone State by debuting BetAmerica.

The BetAmerica brand debuted for the first time by opening a sportsbook at the Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie in 2019, which Churchill Downs had acquired the same year.

BetAmerica’s Launch in Colorado

On September 24, 2020, BetAmerica opened a new retail sportsbook in Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

With the help of a collaboration with Full House Resorts, the proprietor of Bronco Billy’s Casino, the BetAmerica sportsbook was able to begin operation in Colorado.

The BetAmerica Sportsbook at Bronco Billy’s Casino gave the chance to gamble on a wide variety of sporting events, including professional and collegiate sports in the United States as well as major international sports. It included 10 betting kiosks and 2 windows.

BetAmerica’s Last Launch Before Rebranding, Michigan

The Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Michigan, opened its BetAmerica Sportsbook on 29 Sep 2020.

Hannahville Indian Community and BetAmerica, the company’s sports betting and online gaming platform teamed together to launch the retail sportsbook in the Michigan market.

BetAmerica’s sportsbook offered betting opportunities on sports including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and golf on 14 self-service betting terminals and two betting windows. It was just two hours drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and had 25 big-screen TVs.

It also had the Upper Peninsula’s most giant high-definition screens. Later, BetAmerica expanded its operations in the state of Michigan with the debut of its online sportsbook and casino platform.

Rebranding and TwinSpires’ Last Year of Operation

Churchill Downs Incorporated changed the name of its sportsbook and online gaming service from BetAmerica to TwinSpires, the name it had previously given to its service for placing bets on pari-mutuel racing online.

Along with the rebranding, Churchill Downs moved its betting and online gaming services from SBTech’s platform to one offered by GAN and Kambi. In 2007, CDI introduced the TwinSpires pari-mutuel brand, which is now well-known in the online betting community.

TwinSpires’ Launch in Tennessee

On March 18, 2021, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that its TwinSpires Sports mobile application would go live in Tennessee.

Players in Tennessee had access to a broad betting platform through the app and desktop products, which included the ability to bet on major international professional and college sports in addition to horse racing.

Bill Mudd, president, and chief operating officer of CDI, stated at the time that they were thrilled to introduce the cutting-edge TwinSpires sports betting mobile app in Tennessee just in time for March Madness.

TwinSpire’s Debut in Arizona

On August 2, 2021, TwinSpires announced a collaboration with the Tonto Apache Tribe to access the sports betting market in Arizona which became legal in April 2021.

The Tonto Apache Tribe’s Mazatzal Hotel & Casino received a TwinSpires retail sportsbook as a result of the arrangement, which also allowed the company to introduce its online sportsbook in the Grand Canyon State.

The Last Debut of TwinSpires, New Jersey

The debut of Churchill Downs Incorporated’s TwinSpires online sportsbook and casino in New Jersey was announced on December 6th, 2021. The event served as the official introduction of TwinSpires’ online gaming and sports betting services to the New Jersey market. As incentives for signing up, players in New Jersey were able to get $1,000 in bonus wagers and $500 in risk-free casino gaming.

TwinSpires Exits the Online Sports Betting Market

Churchill Downs decided to shut down the company’s online sports betting operation on February 24, 2022, citing difficulties in turning a profit in the existing fiercely competitive market.

In its 2021 financial report, Churchill Downs reported a loss of $31.9 million on sports betting. In June 2022, TwinSpires announced that it will focus on its ADW platform for horse racing in the future.

Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of CDI, stated that Churchill Downs Inc. had high expectations for the possibilities of legal sports betting following the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that permitted wagering to become widespread in the United States.

The frantic customer-acquisition drive by operators in the U.S. appears to have put CDI’s aspirations for online sports betting in jeopardy.

The increased costs and careless spending have made it difficult to produce a profit by accepting bets online, which has caused some bookmakers to start reducing spending.