02/27/2013 6:04PM

Churchill Downs Inc. reports record revenue for second straight year


Churchill Downs Inc. had net earnings on continuing operations of $58.3 million in 2012, down slightly from net earnings of $60.8 million in 2011, while reporting record revenue of $732.4 million for the year, according to financial documents the company released late on Wednesday.

It was the second straight year in which Churchill posted record revenue, largely because of an 11 percent jump in revenue for its online businesses, from $165.4 million in 2011 to $183.3 million in 2012. In addition, casino revenues jumped 5 percent because of the late 2012 addition of a second casino in Mississippi to the company’s portfolio of assets.

Although Churchill has been signaling that it will continue to focus on expanding beyond racing, the 2012 results clearly show that the sport remains the company’s core business. Combined, racing revenue and revenue from its online business in 2012 was $485.3 million, compared with casino revenue of $223 million.

All segments of the company’s operations showed gains in revenue in 2012 compared with 2011, although revenue from racing operations was up only 1 percent. However, racing expenses for the year dropped 2 percent, while expenses for all of its other segments increased.

In a release accompanying the financial documents, Churchill said that profits from the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby were up $5.4 million in 2012 compared with 2011. Betting on the two races in 2012 set records.

The release also said that handle through Churchill’s twinspires.com, the dominant account-wagering site in the U.S., was up 10.9 percent in 2012 compared with 2011. During 2012, overall handle on U.S. horse races was up 1 percent, so growth at twinspires.com is easily outpacing overall industry trends.

Although results were largely positive across-the-board, the documents also showed that revenue from a casino at Calder Race Course fell $5 million in 2012 compared with 2011. In the release, Churchill attributed the drop to “competitive pressures and local economy challenges.”

In addition to Calder and its flagship Louisville track, Churchill owns Arlington Park near Chicago and Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Like Calder, Fair Grounds also has a casino attached to it.

Churchill officials have scheduled a conference call for Thursday morning to discuss the 2012 results.