Churchill Deals Into Jersey; TVG Parent Eyes FanDuel

Well, that didn't take long.

Just days after a U.S. Supreme Court decision opened the door for states to add sports wagering, the owners of the country's two largest advance-deposit wagering outlets announced deals, or the pursuit of deals, to better position the companies in the changing landscape.

Churchill Downs Inc., a racetrack owner that also owns the TwinSpires.com ADW, announced May 16 that it had entered into an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to offer online gaming in New Jersey, as well as sports betting. The deal, subject to the state's sports wagering legislation and gaming license approval, would see CDI begin accepting iGaming wagers in the first quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, Paddy Power Betfair, owner of TVG through its United States operation, acknowledged Wednesday that it is considering purchase of the daily fantasy sports site FanDuel, with an eye toward a toehold in the fast-emerging U.S. sports gambling market.

"Paddy Power Betfair ... confirms it is in discussions regarding a potential combination of the group's U.S. business and FanDuel to create a combined business to target the prospective U.S. sports betting market," a release from the company said. "Discussions are ongoing, and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction."

As for the CDI deal with Golden Nugget New Jersey, CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen noted his company's experience in online gaming through TwinSpires. New Jersey is expected to be the first state to offer sports wagering and already offers online poker and casino gaming.

"We are looking forward to offering integrated iGaming and sports betting products in New Jersey," Carstanjen said. "We have the unique opportunity to leverage our knowledge and experience operating the largest legal online horse racing wagering business in the U.S. as we enter the iGaming and sports betting markets."

Golden Nugget executive Thomas Winter said the addition of CDI will expand its online reach.

"We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected U.S. gaming operator with online wagering experience, to New Jersey," Winter said. "The addition of their offering will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of New Jersey online players."

In morning trading Wednesday following the announcement of the deal, CDI's stock price was up 3.88% to $308.90.

Earlier this year, CDI purchased Presque Isle Downs, giving the company footing in Pennsylvania, one of several states that could offer sports wagering as soon as this year. Pennsylvania's legislation also could open the door for added online gaming.

On news of Paddy Power Betfair's possible deal with FanDuel, The Street reported Wednesday that the Dublin-based bookmaker enjoyed a 6% increase in share price in European trading.

The Street reported that, "Paddy Power's combination with FanDuel would likely be priced below the fantasy sports group's previous value of $1 billion, which it reached during its ill-fated attempt to combine with rival DraftKings last year, given the expected competition both groups are expected to face as the sports betting market expands nationwide."