If 2020 taught us one thing about the legal sports betting scene in the US, it is that there seems to be enough to go around. The industry exploded in 2020, and towards the end of the year, it saw the National handle reach or surpass $3.5 billion per month.
Looking to seize on the exponential growth of the legal sports betting industry, Churchill Downs Inc. is looking for a spark, a makeover of sorts, or something to help its slightly underwhelming BetAmerica platform. That spark is coming in the form of a rebrand, from BetAmerica to TwinSpires sportsbook.
TwinSpires is a recognized and well-respected name in the legal wagering game. Its focus has been on mainly horse racing in the past with a recent move to expand its platform to include the whole of the legal sports betting scene. TwinSpires has had a hand in making the Kentucky Derby one of the most bet-on sporting events in the world for decades and hopes to carry on that tradition in the legal sports betting realm.
“Our TwinSpires brand has consistently delivered over 13 years and is associated with more than a century of wagering experience. That history and heritage offers a unique point of difference in a competitive space,” said Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. “We remain focused on building a profitable sports betting and iGaming business that provides our customers with an integrated experience alongside our horse racing wagering platform. The transition to TwinSpires not only generates marketing efficiencies, but also allows us to deliver a more complete overall experience to our growing online wagering customer base.”
What Churchill Downs Management is Saying
There are a couple of tangible reasons for the brand switch for Churchill Downs Inc. The company brass is saying all of the right things ahead of the name change, while the performance of the brand in certain markets is saying another.
Ian Williams, President of Online Gaming, Churchill Downs, on the subject of the rebrand said: “Pursuing a single brand strategy allows us to maintain focus on integrating our horse racing wagering platform alongside our sports betting and iGaming business, which will provide our players with the ultimate online and mobile betting experience.”
Williams makes no mention of the Company’s unflattering results in some of the biggest markets in the country.
What the Actual Numbers are Saying
The overall performance of the BetAmerica brand in certain Heavyweight legal betting states could also be behind the rebrand. While not pointing directly to the underwhelming performance of the BetAmerica platform, company brass has to be aware of the underperformance of the brand overall.
A look at Pennsylvania, which consistently registers inside the “Top-3 Bet-Friendly States”, shows that BetAmerica has some work to do in order to elevate to the level of some of the other providers in the state.
Pennsylvania has yet to crack $500,000 in revenues in a single month since their launch in Pennsylvania in September 2020, despite analysts projecting the company bringing in approximately $1 million-plus per month in that jurisdiction.
BetAmerica is rarely in the conversation when discussing the legal sports betting scene in Michigan, Mississippi, and New Jersey where they currently have a presence – and that’s the problem. Churchill Downs hopes to curtail that fact under the TwinSpires name.
When Will BetAmerica Become TwinSpires
Churchill Downs has signaled that their rebrand will start in Michigan when TwinSpires sportsbook eventually goes live. It is anyone’s guess when that will happen in the delayed and unpredictable Michigan online sports betting market, but state officials have committed to having legal online sports betting by March Madness at the latest, and possibly earlier.
Rebrand in the other states where Churchill Downs has set up a sportsbook will follow closely after that with the “first half of 2021” the target for completion of the name overhaul. It won’t be long before BetAmerica is totally swept aside and TwinSpires starts gaining more attention.