02/10/2012 6:10PM

Churchill Downs buys poker media company Bluff


Churchill Downs has purchased a multimedia poker company, along with the company’s registered domain sites, in a transaction that signals the company will move more aggressively in lobbying to support a federal proposal to legalize online poker.

The company, Bluff Media, is based in Atlanta and publishes Bluff Magazine, which Churchill called “the industry-leading poker periodical,” along with the magazine’s online counterpart. In addition, the transaction includes the web-site domain names of bluff.com and bluffpoker.com, two assets that would be essential for a company seeking to grab a large stake of the initial market share if on-line poker is legalized.

Churchill said that it would not disclose the terms of the transaction.

Churchill has been quietly lobbying for a lifting on a federal ban on on-line poker for several years. The company has spent more than a hundred-million dollars over the past several years building the U.S.’s largest account-wagering site, twinspires.com, mostly through acquisitions of leading account-wagering companies.

Last year, with the support of the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s largest lobby, a bill was advanced in the House of Representatives that legalized online gambling. The bill died shortly after advancing out of committee, but supporters of a relaxation of the ban remain confident that a bill that lifts the ban on on-line poker will pass in the next couple of years.