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Churchill Downs Expands Footprint In US With Pending PA & MS Acquisitions

Sadonna Price

Churchill Downs Incorporated is a casino operator with headquarters in the state of Kentucky, soon set to be operating gaming venues in another state. This week, the operator announced that they would be expanding their footprint in the US with acquisitions in both Pennsylvania and Mississippi. Churchill Downs paid $229.5 million in the combined purchase of Lady Luck Casino in Mississippi and the Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Pennsylvania.

The deals will not be considered complete until the Mississippi Gaming Commission and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board have provided regulatory approvals. Licensing will also need to be obtained from both before the two venues can be operated by Churchill Downs. The company will have to obtain a license within the Horse Racing Commission as the Presque Isle Downs is a horse racing facility.

With the acquisitions, Churchill Downs will be expanding into two new states with their gaming operations. The Pennsylvania venue has been in operation since early 2007 and offers slot gaming, table games, a poker room and thoroughbred racing. In Mississippi, the casino features slot gaming as well, plus table games.

Churchill Downs has estimated that the acquisition of Lady Luck will be completed by the second quarter. The Presque Isle deal is conditioned based on the closure of the Lady Luck sale, so the Pennsylvania venue purchase should be complete by the fourth quarter of the year.

With Churchill Downs moving into Pennsylvania, the company will have the opportunity to offer online gaming if they seek licensing. The state just legalized online gaming back in October of 2017 and operations should launch sometime this year. If the company finishes their Presque Isle acquisition in time, they could be operating land-based and online operations in PA by
the end of the year.

We shall see in the coming weeks/months how the Churchill Downs deals proceed and if the company will be operating in two new states this year or if more time will be needed to complete the gaming venue purchases.

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