Do you remember how back in 2008, the state of Kentucky seized 132 domains belonging to gambling sites? I’m not even talking about Black Friday, which saw the big three online poker sites shut their doors to US players (one of which ultimately went bankrupt).
I’m talking about the 2008 case that saw the state seize a bunch of domains, saying that they violated Kentucky law. The seizure was ultimately overturned in February 2014, but it was pretty ballsy of Kentucky to even think about going that route.
Well, today comes news that Churchill Downs, the famous racetrack, is gearing up to build an online casino and poker site.
I should note that running an online gambling site is not legal in Kentucky as it is in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. But it could very well become legal one day, so Churchill Downs is preparing to flip the switch if and when things legalize.
Churchill Downs was involved in a business partnership to buy the Showboat Casino in New Jersey in an effort to operate an Internet gambling business. You need to be an actual land-based casino to take online bets in New Jersey, so this was Churchill Downs’ way in. The deal fell through (Churchill is actually suing the businessman who was supposed to buy the property), but Churchill seems to have the software developers, betting operation systems, and other important things required to take bets over the Internet.
This got me thinking. As Churchill Downs gets ready to flip the switch and operate an online gambling site if it becomes regulated, who else is gearing up to do the same? I imagine all sorts of casinos scattered throughout America are getting a jumpstart on their online portal to grab a piece of the pie.
There’s nothing worse than being late to the party, so those who don’t enter the regulated market early could suffer. If I operated a land-based casino in a market that isn’t yet regulated, first of all I’d be rich and not writing articles for a living. But seriously, I’d plan ahead and launch a free-play casino and poker site that my players can enjoy without risking a penny. Then, when the state gives the all clear, one push of a button leads to real-money gambling.
Of course, who am I kidding? Most casinos are probably sitting on the sidelines thinking that their state government will never get their act together. And you know what? Given that it’s been 3.5 years since Black Friday and 6 years since those Kentucky seizures and nothing has happened except for three states legalizing online gambling in their own backyard, they’re probably 100% right.