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Churchill Downs strikes agreements for betting operations in 3 states

Horse racing and gaming operator Churchill Downs Inc. on May 16 announced two agreements that will allow it to have betting operations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

This comes shortly after a Supreme Court decision to strike down a 1992 law prohibiting sports betting in most of the U.S., which allows states to start legalizing it at their discretion.

The Kentucky-based company entered into a strategic partnership with online sports betting and casino platform provider SBTech, which will develop a consumer website, mobile apps and back-office systems to manage online gaming and sports wagering for Churchill Downs.

The partnership is initially aimed at allowing Churchill Downs to enter New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which have approved online gaming and sports betting, and it also will enable the company to enter Mississippi for sports wagering.

In addition, Churchill Downs said it made an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to facilitate its entry into New Jersey and plans to start taking legal wagers for online gaming and sports betting in the state in the first quarter of 2019.

The company said its proposed acquisition of Eldorado Resorts Inc.'s Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Penn., will provide it with certain state licenses for online gaming. It also intends to use two brick-and-mortar casinos that it owns in Mississippi to offer onsite sports betting products.

Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement that the company can leverage its knowledge and experience from operating a legal online horse-racing wagering business as it expands its gaming and betting offerings.

Casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. also had a swift response to the Supreme Court decision, saying that it plans to expand its U.S. sports betting business.