Analysis

Goodbye BetAmerica – hello TwinSpires

The jettisoning of the BetAmerica brand comes as Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) resets its online offering after a failed experiment with SBTech.

The new offering will launch once Michigan opens up in the coming weeks.

Operations in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will also transition to the new brand in the months ahead.

Historic backdrop

TwinSpires has been used by CDI as the brand name for its online pari-mutuel betting operation since 2007.

The company says it is one of the most recognized betting names in the world with 150 years’ worth of wagering history behind it.

The rebrand move comes after a now failed experiment with supplier SBTech. The partnership was signed in the immediate aftermath of the repeal of PASPA.

Ian Williams, President Online Gaming at Churchill Downs, said it had always been the company’s intention to have a single online brand. 

“When we first launched the iGaming division we didn’t want to use the brand due to it being a casino-only New Jersey market and we do not accept horse racing wagers in that state,” he said.

“We felt BetAmerica would be more suited for an Omni-Channel approach.” 

However, it never truly got into gear. The partnership was brought to a halt last summer in the wake of SBTech being bought by DraftKings.

Williams hinted at the issues with SBTech. He told Wedge News CDI had so far spent very little on marketing “largely due to technology issues and not having a full product offering to compete.”

CDI signed platform deals with GAN and Kambi last summer to provide its new backend.

Michigan will be the debut for the new platform offering.

Second chance

Despite the lack of progress, the history of Churchill Downs meant the BetAmerica brand was Tier 2 name on the Wedge Index.

Williams was hopeful the brand equity in TwinSpires would provide a solid basis for the relaunch. 

“The TwinSpires brand is synonymous with horse racing,” he said.

“We have built that business from the ground up to where it is today – the most profitable online wagering business in the U.S. There will be synergies for us in marketing one brand and utilizing our assets to their fullest.

“We have got one of the most loyal sets of customers I have ever seen in any gaming vertical or brand.”

Michigan test-bed

The rebrand is a bold move. Williams said the company was hopeful that Michigan provided the most fertile ground for the rebrand to succeed.

“Obviously Michigan is looking like one of the better states in terms of size of population, tax rate, licensing fees and the products allowed,” he said.

“The regulators seem to have got it right there. Hopefully time will prove them right and be used as a model for other states.”

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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