LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Churchill Downs Inc.'s top executive told shareholders Thursday that the gambling and racing company plans to be aggressive in seeking new acquisitions as it comes off a record-setting financial pace in 2011.
The Kentucky-based company also sees growth potential for its online wagering business, and has been encouraged by the popularity of the limited night-time racing at its namesake Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, said company Chairman and CEO Robert Evans.
Churchill posted record revenues and pre-tax earnings in 2011, attributing the gains to growth in its casino gambling and online horse betting. Besides its hometown track, which is home to the Kentucky Derby, the company owns and operates racetrack and gaming operations in Florida and Louisiana, a racetrack in Illinois and a casino in Mississippi.
That success in 2011 has Churchill in a position to pursue growth opportunities, Evans said at the annual shareholders meeting.
"We will continue to be very active in seeking potential acquisitions," he said.
He gave more of a glimpse into the company's acquisition preferences later, saying: "We continue to look closely at every casino that's up for sale, as well as considering additional joint-venture opportunities. We have one of the strongest balance sheets among gaming companies, and we have the financial resources to do more deals."
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