Churchill Downs hits revenue record despite social casino slump

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Churchill Downs hits revenue record despite social casino slumpChurchill Downs Inc. posted record revenue in Q3 despite decreased activity in its social casino division.

Figures released Thursday show CDI revenue topping $303.4m in the three months ending September 30, an 8% year-on-year gain and a new CDI record. Adjusted earnings fell 7% to $67.3m while net income more than doubled to $8.7m.

The Big Fish Games online gaming division continued to be CDI’s top earner with revenue up 18% to $122.3m, although the division’s earnings fell nearly one-third to $23.4m, dragged down (in part) by $4.4m in extra spending on user acquisition.

The bulk of online revenue came from casual and mid-core free-to-play games, which shot up more than one-quarter to $51.8m. This helped offset a 7% decline in social casino bookings ($44.2m) and a 16% fall in premium games ($22.5m). The social casino operation saw an 8% increase in average paying users but a 14% decline in average bookings per paying user, suggesting some social casino whales either lost interest of defected to another provider.

CDI’s advance deposit wagering service saw revenue rise 9% to $55.1m as race betting handle rose 14.3%, outpacing the overall US thoroughbred industry growth by a hefty 13.5 percentage points.

Revenue at CDI’s land-based casino division was basically flat at $83m but earnings improved nearly 14% to $30.4m. Revenue was up at its Maine and Florida properties, while Mississippi and Kentucky suffered declines. CDI’s casino portfolio expanded in Q3 via the acquisition of Maryland’s Oceans Down property via a joint venture with Saratoga Casino Holdings.

Finally, CDI’s formerly dominant terrestrial race betting division was also flat at $41.3m, while earnings nudged up one-third to a mere $400k. Sing it with me: the old grey mare just ain’t what she used to be…


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