If there’s one thing about the ever changing fortunes of online gambling in the United States, it’s that things will always be interesting.
The latest irony to raise its head over the online gambling debacle is in the State of Kentucky, where its governor, Steve Beshear has been ceaselessly fighting to protect the State’s racing industry from losing business to the Internet gambling websites.
Beshear made it very clear that by going after the online slot machines community, he was aiming to keep Kentucky gambling dollars within the confines of the State borders and not allow them to be frittered away into the ether. The protection of the Kentucky horse racing industry has been his major aim in all this.
However, in what appears to be a major slap in the face for his trouble, Churchill Downs, who are one of the largest companies that Beshear was working to protect, has announced they are purchasing a major Internet gambling website. The deal is with YouBet.com Inc. and is estimated to cost Churchill Downs around $127 million.
This deal represents a significant boost for Churchill Downs, who stand to gain a stake worth in the region of $700 million in the online horse race betting market, worth a staggering $1.4 billion. Not bad for a company that has been struggling to make ends meet with its Kentucky racetrack over the past few years.
From this latest move, it is quite clear that the racetrack company fully understands the monetary worth of online betting as it stands at present. It is also clear that the enormous growth potential will enable Churchill Downs to compete with outside companies through a sensible business strategy rather than relying on the legal system to do their work for them.
There has been no indication to how Governor Beshear is likely to react to this news. Despite his unsuccessful seizure attempt of 114 gambling related domains, he has vowed to continue his attack on Internet gambling websites despite overstepping his authority in this year’s long drawn out series of court cases.
Now there is an even more interesting dilemma for the Governor to contend with. Churchill Downs has intimated that they plan to maintain the running of YouBet.com as a fully independent company. Added to that, they are not planning on moving the company from its current location in Burbank, California to Kentucky.