The famous Kentucky Derby venue is looking to expand its business to New Hampshire. Churchill Downs plans to acquire Chasers Poker Room and add historical racing machines (HRMs) to the facility.
Churchill Downs’ decision comes after New Hampshire’s 2021 legislation
Back in June of 2021, NH Governor, Chris Sununu, signed into law House Bill 626. The legislation permits charitable gaming facilities in the Granite State to offer pari–mutuel wagering on historical horse racing.
According to New Hampshire gambling law, the facilities must pay state taxes on revenue. Additionally, a percentage of their revenue must be donated to New Hampshire charities.
While New Hampshire horseracing isn’t a new industry, in-person races are not available within NH state lines. Bettors can only bet online or travel to a nearby state to place bets.
The new horse racing legislation gained Churchill Downs’ attention as an opportunity to stretch their legs in the state of New Hampshire. With the new HRM offerings at Chasers, bettors will be able to wager in person.
The horse racing giant is confident New Hampshire bettors will appreciate access to the new HRMs. However, Churchill Downs’ acquisition of Chasers is still pending approval of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
NH will be one of four states in Churchill Downs’ portfolio
Should the NH Lottery’s regulatory approval pull through, New Hampshire will eventually be one of four states that Churchill Downs has historical horseracing offerings in.
Historical racing is currently already offered in Kentucky by the company. In Virginia, they are still negotiating the purchase of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment to provide the same offerings.
The ball is already rolling in Louisiana where the company will be launching historical racing soon.
Chasers Poker Room is in a prime location
It’s not surprising that Churchill Downs zeroed in on Chasers Poker Room as its next historical horseracing venture. Not only does the facility allow New Hampshire bettors access to the company’s offerings, but it also captures some business from Massachusetts bettors.
Located in Salem, NH, Chasers is only a few miles away from the Bay State’s border. It’s roughly 30 miles from Boston.
Churchill Downs has been unsuccessful in iGaming thus far
While the company has seen great success in the business of horseracing, they recently tried their hand in iGaming and online gambling.
After low revenue numbers reported at the end of 2021, Churchill Downs CEO, Bill Carstanjen, announced that the company would be scaling back their online gambling presence.
The reason for the company’s low success, according to Carstanjen, is the highly competitive iGaming market. The CEO didn’t expect such competition in the online gambling space.
“Many are pursuing maximum market share in every state,” said Carstanjen. “With little regard for short-term or potentially even long-term profitability.”
This environment didn’t match up with Churchill Downs’ business philosophy of seeking long-term profitability for its shareholders. As a result, the company will now put it’s focus toward what it knows: Horseracing.
Churchill Downs CEO optimistic about HRM success in New Hampshire
Now that Churchill Downs has gone back to what it knows, the Chasers Poker Room deal is all the more exciting. Carstanjen is hopeful that New Hampshire bettors will respond favorably to the new offers and that the opportunity will be a success in New Hampshire.
“We look forward to sharing more about our plans to build an expanded, state-of-the-art gaming facility in Salem in the coming months,” he said.