In the landscape of the U.S. gaming industry, few companies have had a recent transformation quite like that of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI)—-the parent company of the Kentucky Derby has vastly expanded its offerings in recent years, thanks in part to Maureen Adams, CDI’s executive vice president of gaming.
Adams, who first came to CDI in 2019, has had a long and accomplished career in gaming thus far with stints at Caesars, Penn Entertainment and Calder Casino, but that wasn’t always the plan. Having started her career at a public accounting firm, Adams says her goal initially was to “earn my accounting degree, join a firm, pass the CPA exam, and eventually earn a partnership through hard work and dedication.”
However, when she discovered gaming, it was new and exciting, and the potential growth opportunities convinced her to stay for good.
“I decided to take the risk and pivot into what would become a lifelong career, and it eventually brought me to CDI,” she says. “Now in the role of executive vice president of gaming operations, overseeing all facets of this business segment, I could not imagine a different career plan for myself.”
With regard to the year ahead, Adams says she is “excited for the incredible amount of continued growth and opportunity we have as a company,” noting that in just the past five years, CDI has opened new venues, “introduced new and innovative products to market with our Historical Racing Machine (HRM) technology,” and more.
“As CDI moves into 2024, our team has a deep focus on innovation, expanding our portfolio of entertainment venues, recruiting top-tier talent, and ensuring we continue to deliver on the extraordinary experiences our company is known for,” she says. “I know CDI will strive to continue being a leader in the gaming industry and cannot wait for all that this next year and beyond have in store for us.”
Keeping in line with her decision to cross over from accounting to gaming, Adams says the biggest lesson she’s learned over the years is that fortune favors the bold. “The first significant risk will always be the scariest, but at the same time, it teaches you just how much more you are capable of in either your personal or professional life,” she posits.
While confident decision-making is certainly important, Adams also notes that it’s crucial for those with big aspirations to “embrace lifelong learning, invest in continuing education, share your knowledge freely and embrace innovation and change.”
In her free time, Adams enjoys “participating on volunteer boards that support community needs,” as well as golfing, traveling and spending time with family and friends.