04/27/2017 10:43AM

Churchill Downs Inc.'s net income rises sharply in first quarter

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Churchill Downs Inc. had net income of $7.3 million in the first quarter of 2017, up $4.5 million from the same quarter last year despite a slight drop in total revenue, according to financial statements released Wednesday.

Revenue in the quarter was $279.5 million, down 3 percent from $288.4 million in the first quarter of last year, in large part due to a $9.1 million decline in revenue from the company’s Big Fish mobile-gaming segment, from $122.1 million to $112.0 million. However, Churchill sharply trimmed operating expenses at Big Fish, from $109.4 million in the first quarter of last year to $86.9 million this past year, according to the financial statements.

Racing revenue was down 8.8 percent, from $26.2 million in the first quarter of last year to $23.9 million this year, with most of the revenue generated from Churchill’s New Orleans track, Fair Grounds. In a conference call Thursday, Churchill officials said a quarantine at Fair Grounds early in the year had a negative impact on the track’s revenue, along with the scheduling of the Louisiana Derby this year in April, outside of the first quarter. Last year, the Louisiana Derby was held in March.

Revenue from TwinSpires, Churchill’s market-leading account-wagering company, was up 4.8 percent, from $48.6 million to $52.0 million. Churchill officials said on the conference call that handle through TwinSpires was up 6.8 percent, compared with a slight decline in overall handle on U.S. racing during the first quarter.

Revenue from Churchill’s casinos was up 1.2 percent during the quarter, from $86.5 million to $87.5 million, according to the financial statements.