Churchill Downs May Add 50 IT Jobs for Online Gambling

Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs, Inc., owner of the Louisville, Ky., racetrack that’s home to the Kentucky Derby, is seeking to add 50 IT jobs as part of its bid to expand offerings in online gambling.

In an application to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for tax incentives on its proposed $4 million expansion, Churchill Downs said it is considering adding 50 new positions with average pay of about $100,000. However, the application also puts the average wage at $81 an hour.

Churchill Downs owns other racetracks as well as a range of casino operations. The new positions would expand its technology team, now based in Lexington, Ky., and Mountain View, Calif. Mountain View is home to the company’s sports betting arm. Another division, Atlanta-based poker-news service Bluff Media, is another possible site of the new jobs.

The company didn’t elaborate on what the new positions would be but Daryl Snyder, Vice President of the chamber of commerce group Greater Louisville Inc. said, “You’re going to see a lot of mainframe, technology and software.”

Churchill Downs accelerated plans to offer poker and other online games after a 2011 ruling  by the U.S. Justice Department saying that the 1961 Wire Act referred only to sports gambling. It bought Bluff Media soon after, which includes a poker fan website and magazine.

Churchill Downs and other U.S. companies pondering the online gambling market are seeking clarification of federal and state laws before really committing resources to their efforts, so a timetable for these jobs is far from clear. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, though, did approve $1 million in tax incentives for the expansion.

Struggling Zynga had been working toward online gambling, but in July dropped plans for the U.S. market. Big Fish Games, which just shuttered its cloud game-streaming initiative, said it would renew focus on premium games and casino games.

Image: Wikimedia Commons