Churchill Downs Inc. has begun prepping its online customers in Pennsylvania for the rebranding of its sportsbook and iCasino, but without releasing a whole lot of details.
Churchill Downs since December 2019 has operated the BetAmerica online site connected to its Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie. It regularly attracts among the lowest volume of wagers among the state’s 12 online sportsbooks.
The Kentucky-based company announced in January that it would be transitioning its BetAmerica sportsbooks nationally to become TwinSpires, starting that month in Michigan. The process would then follow in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Mississippi, and Colorado.
The site remains active as BetAmerica in Pennsylvania, but its customers last week received a notice by email of the pending change: “Bet America is moving to TwinSpires,” it announced. “Get ready for a new and improved betting experience!”
The notice advised players to use any bonus funds existing in their accounts by April 13, as they would not migrate to the new platform and would be lost.
“We’ll be sharing more information as the migration date nears,” the note said, without specifying the date.
Penn Bets has reached out for further information from representatives of Churchill Downs, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires without receiving a reply.
Company promises phone app, more bonuses
While it is not yet clear how TwinSpires will be different from BetAmerica for users, the company is noting some advantages that can be expected.
It explains on its website: “The brand update will coincide with a move to a new platform. The Platform move means an enhanced offering for our players including an app for mobile devices. You can expect more betting markets, Odds Boosts, Super Odds, leaderboards, and more.”
Since its inception, BetAmerica has lacked features of the more popular competitors in the state. It has no smartphone app with which to place sports bets or to play casino games, once the latter were added to the sportsbook site in January 2020. It has also been far more modest in its welcome bonuses for new customers or the special odds boosts offered to existing players.
Of $469.7 million wagered online among 12 Pennsylvania sites in February, BetAmerica handled just $1.3 million. It led only the Caesars sportsbook site.
Factoring in $68,146 in promotional credits, BetAmerica actually reported a loss for the month of $62,650 — its third straight losing month for net revenue.
Will piggyback off of horse racing
Until now, TwinSpires has been the site dedicated by Churchill Downs for horse bettors. It offers online and mobile betting on both U.S. and international racing, and the sports and casino games are now to be combined with it.
“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,” said Ian William, president of online gaming for Churchill Downs, in a January press release.
The company has stated that while their bonus funds were jeopardized if unspent, players won’t have to take any action to retain accounts when the transition to TwinSpires occurs. Registration information and cash balances will migrate to the new site, but payment-related details will have to be re-entered on the site for deposits and withdrawals.