TwinSpires Has Added Sports Betting And Casino Play As Churchill Downs’ Online Site In PA

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Churchill Downs Inc. completed the changeover of its Pennsylvania online sports betting and casino site Tuesday, hoping it will provide a boost after lagging nearly all competitors for the past 15 months.

The Louisville, Ky.-based gaming company has abandoned its BetAmerica brand, which it had used for sports betting in the state since a December 2019 launch and for iCasino play starting the next month.

After maintenance downtime that took longer than the 10 hours expected late Monday and early Tuesday, CDI at about 11 a.m. unveiled a TwinSpires platform — at pa.twinspires.com — that combines sports wagering and casino play as options with horse betting. TwinSpires has been the parimutuel wagering site since 2007 for the company, which is most famous for running the Kentucky Derby.

The revamped site uses the same blue-and-white color scheme as the former one, but with a brighter presentation that uses bolder graphics and clearly shows more betting options.

CDI announced in January that it would be transitioning its BetAmerica sites nationally to the TwinSpires platform, counting on that brand and the convenience of the combined offerings to make it more successful. It made no new public announcement of the relaunch Tuesday and did not respond to a Penn Bets request for comment.

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Customers in Pennsylvania received notification last week that the changeover was imminent, with a warning that any bonus funds in their accounts should be used by April 13 or they would lose them. Otherwise, the transition is supposed to be relatively seamless, with no new action required of customers wanting to place bets, although they will be expected to reenter prior information when seeking to make deposits and withdrawals.

New site will try to climb from the bottom

BetAmerica, which is connected to CDI’s Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie County, has been at or near the bottom of patronage among sports betting sites in Pennsylvania since its arrival in late 2019.

In March sports betting figures reported by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the site had the lowest handle among 12 in the state, claiming $1.4 million of the state’s $560.3 million wagered. It also reported a revenue loss — after accounting for promotional credits given away — for the fourth consecutive month, amounting to $14,229 in March.

The BetAmerica iCasino, which launched in January 2020, is also among the lowest revenue generators among 14 online casinos in the state. In March, it claimed revenue of $498,092 from the state’s total of $97.7 million.

Compared to other online sportsbooks, BetAmerica typically had less to offer customers both in the way of special promotions and daily betting options.

On Saturday, for instance, it offered no odds on the attention-getting Jake Paul-Ben Askren boxing match, while main competitors did so. And it showed no individual performance prop bets for NBA games when other sites showed options such as betting on the first scorer or players’ individual point totals.

BetAmerica also typically offered less in the way of futures bets, such as lacking any odds for next year’s Super Bowl winner when competitors were posting them. With Tuesday’s rebrand as TwinSpires, options such as picking next season’s Super Bowl and conference winners and league MVP now show up.

The one downside for bettors is that the site has become the seventh among 12 in the state using odds supplied by Kambi, so those futures odds for the Super Bowl and MVP duplicate those of DraftKings, BetRivers, and others instead of enabling line shopping. BetAmerica had used SBTech as its sports betting platform, which, ironically, is the platform DraftKings will be converting to later this year in parting ways with Kambi.

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Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at gary@usbets.com.

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