Kentucky-based racing and gaming operator Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) is entering the real-money online gaming and sport betting market in the United States in partnership with SBTech.

CDI will utilise SBTech’s integrated technology platform to offer iGaming and sports wagering where permitted, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

SBTech will provide CDI with an iGaming platform, consumer website, mobile apps, and back-office systems, under what is likely the biggest contract award to date for the awarding-winning supplier. 

CDI has partnered with New Jersey iGaming market leader Golden Nugget to launch gaming and wagering operations in the state, subject to licensure, with the aim of launching in the first quarter of 2019.

CDI chief executive Bill Carstanjen said that the market represents a unique opportunity for the company to leverage its knowledge and experience operating the largest legal online horse racing wagering business in the US, noting that the SBTech partnership provides “an industry leading platform to offer innovative and exciting, integrated iGaming and sports betting products.”

Thomas Winter, senior vice president and general manager, Online Gaming for Landry's Golden Nugget, added: “We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected U.S. gaming operator with online wagering experience, to New Jersey. The addition of their offering will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of New Jersey online players.”

In Pennsylvania, CDI has agreed the acquisition of Presque Isle Downs & Casino from Eldorado Resorts, as announced in March. The acquisition agreement requires Eldorado to apply for certain iGaming licenses, giving the company a foothold in the state, which passed legislation last year authorising real money online gaming.

In Mississippi, CDI has two existing brick-and-mortar casinos that will be utilised to offer on-property sports betting products.

Commenting on the agreement with CDI, SBTech chief executive Richard Carter said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Churchill Downs and to introduce our award-winning iGaming and sports betting platforms in the US. We both share a deep commitment to technological innovation and excellence, and we look forward to working with them during this exciting time in the history of the U.S. gaming market.”

Shares in Churchill Downs Incorporated (NSQ:CDI) closed in New York Tuesday, up 1.74 per cent at $297.70 per share, having set a new 52-week high of $301.60 per share earlier in the day.