Churchill Downs focused on growth opportunities in path to recovery

Churchill Downs Incorporated has asserted that it is attacking the year “with a relentless focus on strategic and organic growth opportunities,” after the group’s land-based interests continued to struggle in the remainder of 2020.

Making the comments in the group’s Q4 and FY trading report, revenue for the quarter fell less that one percentage point to $278.2m (2019: $280.6m), with net income surging to $17.1m (2019: $4m) and adjusted EBITDA up 7.3 per cent from $73.8m to $79.2m.

Revenue at the firm’s flagship Churchill Downs Racetrack reached $38.5m for the quarter, an 8.7 per cent drop from $42.2m due to lower ticketing and food and beverage revenue as a result of limited attendance.

Adjusted EBITDA declined 13 per cent $9.2m to $8m driven by lower Churchill Downs Racetrack revenue, partially offset by a $1.6m increase from Derby City Gaming due to increased operating efficiencies.

The group’s online wagering segment saw revenue and adjusted EBITDA reported as $94.2m (2019: $61.8m) and $23.6m (2019: $12.2m), driven by the group’s TwinSpires sportsbook and igaming platform as well as a full quarter of online casino in Pennsylvania and increased performance in New Jersey.

Revenue at CDI’s gaming division decreased 27.1 per cent to $122.6m (2019: $168.3m), primarily due a $20.5m decrease as a result of the temporary suspension of operations at Presque Isle and Lady Luck Nemacolin from December 12, 2020 to the end of the year; as well as decreases of $11.8m at Oxford Casino Hotel; $6.5m at Calder Casino; $2.4m at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, $1.9m at Harlow’s Casino, Resort & Spa, $1.8m at Riverwalk Casino Hotel, and $800,000 at Ocean Downs Casino, due to the patron capacity restrictions at each property. Adjusted EBITDA dropped 20.4 per cent to $54.3m (2019: $68.3m).

“Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we managed our business efficiently and responsibly, and with that discipline, we have maintained a strong company,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI

“We are moving forward in 2021 with a relentless focus on strategic and organic growth opportunities that will enable us to continue to deliver a strong return on investment to our investors.”

For the full year, revenue dipped 21 per cent to $1.05bn (2019: $1.32bn), adjusted EBITDA was down 37 per cent to $286.5m (2019: $451.4m), and net loss finished up at $81.9m compared to an income of $137.5m a year earlier.

Lower ticketing and food and beverage revenue as a result of limited attendance saw revenue and adjusted EBITDA plummet for the year at the group’s Churchill Downs Racetrack to $160.5m (2019: $289.4m) and $38.3m (2019: $137.7m).

Net revenue decreased 36.1 per cent to $443.9m (2019: 694.8m) in CDI’s gaming segment, due to the temporary suspension of operations at all properties. Adjusted EBITDA dropped 37 per cent to $176.7m (2019: $280.9m).

Aiming to offset these decreases was the group’s digital division, which reported 40.5 per cent revenue rise to $409.9m (2019: $291.6m) and adjusted EBITDA of $109.3m (2019: $66.3m).