Expanded internet operations for Kentucky racecourse

Kentucky racecourse owner Churchill Downs is to fully exploit its privileged position vis-a-vis online gambling with expansion projects led by racetrack president Steven P. Sexton.

Horseracing is one of the special exceptions to anti-Internet gambling laws devised by US politicians in what can only be seen as either vested interests or commercial protectionism, creating significant problems for the United States on the international trade scene through World Trade Organisation disputes.

Business First reports that the Louisville-based Churchill Downs announced Monday that it has created a subsidiary to expand online gambling operations and other entertainment ventures that will be led by Sexton, who will serve as president and CEO. Churchill has consequently begun a search to find someone to replace Sexton as president of the Louisville track, the company revealed in its press release.

Sexton joined Churchill Downs Inc. in 2001 as president of Arlington Park Racecourse. He has been president of Churchill Downs racetrack since 2002 and has been a vice president of the parent company since 2006.

Churchill Downs officials did not elaborate further on the new Internet venture.

"The racing, gaming and entertainment we provide customers are very interdependent, regardless of whether they are delivered on-site at our tracks, casinos and OTBs, or online via TwinSpires.com or other online sites," Churchill Downs Inc. president and CEO Robert L. Evans said in the release.

"In the currently tough economic environment, many companies are announcing reorganizations and layoffs intended to reduce costs. Our changes here, however, are about aligning the right leaders at CDI with the strategic growth opportunities we believe exist."

The state of Kentucky remains a focus of online gambling attention following the protectionist attempts by Governor Steve Beshear last year to seize and confiscate the domains of online gambling companies he claims have offered services to his constituents (see previous InfoPowa reports). The case, and the initial findings of a county court judge, triggered serious litigation led by organisations such as iMEGA and IGC, which forestalled the confiscation attempts by appealing to a superior court. That court's three judge ruling, expected soon, will have major implications for the freedom of the Internet...and for the owners of the 141 domains in question.

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