Churchill Downs Reveals Plans to Open a Louisville Gaming Facility

  • The Derby City Gaming Downtown venue will have 500 HRMs and could open in early 2023
  • About 100 new permanent jobs and 350 construction jobs will be created
  • This venue will help create $10m-$12m annually in extra prize money for the racetrack
  • CDI already has about 3,500 HRMs operational in Kentucky
Louisville Slugger factory and museum
Churchill Downs Incorporated has announced plans to develop a new gaming facility in downtown Louisville that will house 500 historical racing machines. [Image:]

Plans for the new venue

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has revealed that it is planning to open a new historical racing machine (HRM) facility in Louisville, Kentucky. The company announced the news on Thursday via Twitter about the planned 43,000 square foot facility that will be called Derby City Gaming Downtown:

Initially, the venue will have 500 HRMs, onsite parking, a fresh air gaming space, as well as three different bar concepts. There will also be a store that will allow visitors to buy Kentucky Derby merchandise. Construction on this venue is set to begin before the end of the year; CDI hopes to open the venue in early 2023.

HRMs are very similar to slot machines in how they look and operate. However, they don’t use an algorithm to randomize the spin results. Instead, they anonymize historical horse races in order to determine the spin’s outcome.

This new venue will create about 100 new permanent jobs, as well as 350 construction jobs. CDI will be working alongside OneWest and other community organizations in order to create job opportunities for people from the most under-resourced areas in Louisville. It will also be focusing on providing training and different forms of social support services for the community.

CDI has also pledged $1m to a community-led initiative called the West End Opportunity Partnership. The goal of this partnership is to finance projects to help boost economic development and improve the quality of life in nine neighborhoods in the West End.

Positive reaction to the news

Talking about the plans for Derby City Gaming Downtown was CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen. He spoke about the company’s commitment to investing in the city and helping to create economic vibrancy for all aspects of the local community. He said: “Our HRM expansion will be a win for the entire community in the Louisville area and will create $10 to $12 million per year in additional purse money for Churchill Downs Racetrack.”

Louisville Tourism CEO and president Cleo Battle applauded CDI for its continuing investment into the city’s hospitality infrastructure. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer touched on how CDI is an important component in the revitalization of downtown Louisville. He spoke about how the downtown area is the center of the local community and the region’s economic engine.

This initiative represents intentionality around inclusion and diversity and it is starting at the top.”

Finally, OneWest CEO and president Evon Smith said: “This initiative represents intentionality around inclusion and diversity and it is starting at the top. The leadership team at Churchill Downs Incorporated are leading through action!”

A leader in the gambling space

CDI is one of the leading companies in the racing, online betting, and gaming entertainment spaces. The core focus of the company is on the iconic Kentucky Derby race which takes place at the Churchill Downs Racetrack every year. The racetrack is only about five miles from the planned Derby City Gaming Downtown venue. It also owns and operates three pari-mutuel gaming entertainment venues in Kentucky that have about 3,500 HRMs in total.

HRMs are a lucrative source of revenue for racetracks in Kentucky. There had been concerns that these types of machines would be banned following a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling last year. However, state lawmakers made adjustments to fix laws that were called into question, allowing HRMs to continue to be legal without any issues.

CDI is also the owner of the TwinSpires betting and iGaming brand which has eight retail sportsbooks open across various states. CDI operates land-based casinos in numerous states, which contain about 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals in total, as well as 200 table games. On Wednesday, CDI revealed that it had sold its property in Arlington, Illinois for $197.2m to the Chicago Bears. This could potentially be the site for a new stadium for the NFL team.

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