The latest novelty in Churchill Downs Inc.’s stables is a new online gambling site dubbed Luckity, which exploits the carve-outs in US federal law that allow interstate gambling on horse races.
Therefore, the site allows punters to bet their lucky number or have the game choose a number for them, and see the results determined by horses in races running live somewhere around the world. However, while the good side is that this kind of gambling is legal, the downside may be that due to the reliance on live horse racing, the results are not as instantaneous as in online slot machines and pay-outs can vary greatly, as they’re based on the pari-mutuel pool.
The sites target women over 35 who enjoy slots, the lottery and social networking games, and are more likely to attend night racing and bet casually on their favorite jockeys, asserted Ted Gay, president of the newly created Churchill Downs Interactive, declining to state how much was invested in Luckity or what the revenue projections may be.
He only specified that more money will go into the horse racing betting pool and that thanks to this horse owners and true horse bettors will see bigger returns.
Marty Maline of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which supports the new site commented on the launch: “You applaud them for thinking of new things. Nobody really understands it fully. I don’t know that they understand it fully, in terms of how it will impact business."
It has also been noted that the site’s offering includes 24 cash games, with more to come, and that it can be expected that overnights and early weekdays will be slower because of the limited number of races available, while weekends should be the peak time.
The site also has a free-play bingo game that offers “clovers” to winners, which can exchange them for entry into a weekly drawing for $250.
The site could be a success – it has been developed for a year and passed stringent testing, and there are even plans to launch it for mobile devices. And most importantly, it’s legal.
Explaining its legality, Churchill Downs senior vice president Brett Hale said: “We changed the interface, but it’s essentially the same back end. I think an objective person looking at this will understand that it is exactly the same thing as online wagering and on horse racing.”
Still, it appears that the company keeps looking into legalized online gambling, which was confirmed by a spokeswoman Courtney Yopp Norris who stated that Churchill Downs is making significant investment in the wagering platform used by Luckity and TwinSpires, which could be used in a future competitive online environment.