Sep 13, 2010 4:33 PM by Melissa Canone
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Churchill Downs Inc. announced a deal
Monday to purchase a Mississippi casino and hotel for about $138
million as the company best known for the Kentucky Derby expanded
its gambling operations.
The Louisville-based company is buying Harlow's Casino Resort &
Hotel in Greenville, Miss., from a private investment group. It has
also added slot and gaming operations affiliated with its race
tracks in Louisiana and Florida, and staked out a bigger share of
Internet wagering by acquiring Youbet.com.
Churchill Downs President and CEO Robert L. Evans said the
casino resort hotel along the Mississippi River was a good fit for
"We were looking for other gaming assets that were attractive
from a valuation and future growth potential, and it just so
happened that this is one we came upon that met all our criteria,"
Churchill said the cash deal is expected to close within six
months. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
Harlow's opened in late 2007 and features a 33,000 square-foot
gaming floor with 841 slot machines, 23 table games and a poker
room. The property features a five-story, 105-room attached hotel,
a 2,600-seat entertainment center and three separate dining areas.
"It's a great asset," Evans said. "It's brand new. It has a
great team there. We like the market."
Stephen Altebrando, an industry analyst with Sidoti & Co., was
upbeat about the deal, noting Churchill estimated that the casino
will add to its annual earnings-per-share performance by 27 cents
to 31 cents. Another positive for Churchill is Mississippi's
"historically favorable regulatory environment and friendly low
gaming tax rate," he said.
"We view the deal as favorable," he said in a note to
Besides its namesake track in Louisville, Churchill Downs owns
and operates three other race tracks - Arlington Park near Chicago,
Calder Casino and Race Course near Miami and Fair Grounds Race
Course & Slots in New Orleans.