February 27, 2021 Casino, Technology, Land-Based

Churchill Downs Q4 revenue falls 1% to $278m


Churchill Downs Inc. reported fourth quarter 2020 revenue of $278m, a 1% decline year-on-year.

The Louisville-based horse racing and gaming company saw net income of $17m for the quarter, up from $4m over the same period a year prior. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $79m, an increase from $74m in 2019.

2020 full year net revenue was down 21% y-o-y to $1.01b, while full year EBITDA dropped 37% to $287m.

CDI had to postpone the 2020 Kentucky Derby due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event ran in early September with no fans in attendance.

“We generated double digit positive EBITDA for Derby Week even without a crowd and while conducting it during a completely different time of the year when our customers were not used to seeing it,” said CDI CEO William C. Carstanjen. “We protected the safety of our community and team members and also protected the reputation, the brand and the long-term value of this iconic asset.”

The company turned to online wagering to help offset brick-and-mortar losses. TwinSpires Horse Racing generated 36% higher handle in 2020 than the year prior, including a 45% jump in the fourth quarter.

Last quarter, CDI launched the rebranded TwinSpires sportsbook and online gaming in Michigan.

“We are pleased with our initial results in Michigan, which reflects a much higher percentage of online casino handle that we anticipate -- that we anticipate will be more profitable over the long term than sports betting for us in this state,” Carstanjen said.

The company is targeting an online sports betting launch in Tennessee within the next month and plans to debut online sports betting in Colorado before the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

The race will be run with between 40-50% crowd capacity, Carstanjen said.

Days before its fourth quarter earnings report, CDI announced it would sell Arlington International Racecourse outside Chicago while still running a full schedule from April to September.

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