Back in May, news broke that Churchill Down, Inc had found a California partner for online poker should legislation ever pass. At that time, Churchill Downs had failed to make a statement on the matter. A report on Thursday by the Courier-Journal has confirmed that Churchill Downs has confirmed the partnership, mentioning it in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Deal is For 10 Years from First Wager
On Wednesday, Churchill Downs finally made a public mention of their partnership with the Crystal Casino & Hotel in LA and Ocean’s 11 in Oceanside. In a filing with the SEC, Churchill stated that they would work jointly with the casinos to provide a platform that would include online poker and potentially other forms of gambling.
Back when the deal was first announced, it was revealed that the Churchill Downs Interactive Gaming Division was working on developing the online poker platform for California. Now we know that the deal with the casinos will see Churchill downs oversee the sites for a span of 10 years to commence from the placing of the first bet online for the companies.
It is unclear at this time what stage of development they have reached due to the slowdown in the legislative process in California.
Difficult to Assess Bill Chances
Churchill Downs commented in their SEC filing regarding the chances of online poker passing in the state legislature in 2015. They said two identical bills were currently making their way through the state and that it “is difficult to assess whether this legislation will be enacted into law.”
Actually, there are three bills currently filed in California and none are the same. The only bill to move out of committee is AB 431 and that is a placeholder bill with little information regarding regulation. AB 167 and AB 9 are also filed but are polar opposites with AB 9 blocking bad actors and the horse racing industry from participating in legal online poker.
Recent Activity Could Point to Churchill Being Bearish on Online Poker’s Chances
Those that regularly follow the online poker landscape already know that Bluff Media will be closing its doors next month. The closure of the site was announced recently and confirmed by management.
Churchill Downs is the owner of Bluff and purchased the company with the intention of having the company promote legal online poker. Their choice to shut down the company could indicate that they are becoming bearish on online poker in both California and the United States.
This could naturally change if state legislatures start working towards regulation. At present, online poker in California looks dead for 2015 and some are doubtful for 2016. Some pessimistic estimates put online poker passage not happening until around 2020.
California is one of two states seriously considering online poker regulation. Pennsylvania has held a series of hearings this year and is considered the next state to legalize online poker. Other states that could enter the fray in coming years include Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida and Mississippi.