The rapidly proliferating sports gaming industry scored another major victory on Thursday, as Churchill Downs Inc. announced plans to build a new casino-style venue in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. According to a report by the Associated Press, the new 43,000 square-foot venue named Derby City Gaming Downtown is projected to open in early 2023 a mere five miles away from the historic racetrack that plays host to the annual Kentucky Derby.
The venue is set to open with 500 historical horse racing machines, with the slot-type games allowing patrons to bet on randomly generated past horse races. Although casino gambling is illegal in the state of Kentucky, historical horse racing venues have been allowed to operate by state legislature. Churchill Downs Inc. projects that the new facility will generate anywhere from $10-12 million in additional purse money for Churchill Downs races as well as benefit the community at large.
“It is important that Louisville is a city that is thriving — a great place to live, work and visit — and we are committed to helping create economic vibrancy for every area of our community,” read a statement by Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen.
The facility’s downtown location will be situated near Louisville’s convention center as well as a number of hotels, taking advantage of the city’s tourism growth — Louisville and its various distilleries have become popular spots for bourbon tourists. The facility will include an open-air gaming area, bars, and a retail store featuring Kentucky Derby-themed merchandise.
Derby City Gaming Downtown will be the second such location in Louisville, as another historical horse racing betting facility is already open in South Louisville. The continued existence of such venues was threatened last year when the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that some forms of wagering on historical horse racing did not meet pari-mutuel wagering standards, but a measure to fix flaws cited by the court was passed by lawmakers earlier this year.