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Churchill Downs opens $90m Derby City Gaming Downtown in Kentucky

| By Robert Fletcher
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has opened its new $90.0m (£71.5m/€83.4m) Derby City Gaming (DCG) Downtown historical racing machine (HRM)venue in Kentucky.
CDI Derby City Gaming Kentucky

The facility, CDI’s sixth in the Bluegrass State, has a Kentucky Derby theme and houses 500 HRMs. The CDI venue also features three food and beverage amenities, 130 parking spaces and an exterior 3D video board.

CDI said the project generated 400 construction jobs and resulted in over 150 permanent jobs at the venue. More than $14.0m of the investment was spent with minority, women and veteran-owned subcontracting services.

“This project is one of which I’m particularly proud because in addition to its impact of the Kentucky horse industry, it’s going to bring new energy to our downtown and stimulate investments like it,” CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen said. 

“DCG Downtown will give locals, bourbon tourists, convention attendees and all our visitors, another much needed entertainment facility in this region. Investing in downtown Louisville was more than a financial decision. It is an investment in the spirit and the culture and the future of our city.”

Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, also praised the project. He said the venue fits in with the state’s racing heritage.

“As you all know, racing is a key part of our history and our culture,” Beshear said. “Churchill Downs brings folks from across the state and across our world together.

“This company isn’t just resting on where they’ve been, they’re laser focused on where they’re going. They’re working tirelessly to be even better to ensure their future and our future as Kentucky is brighter than ever.”

The opening comes shorty after Kentucky opened its legal online sports betting market. Initially, the state launched retail wagering on 7 September, with online following on 27 September as part of a staggered launch.

Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics and Penn Sports Interactive all picked up online licences. Kambi was also issued a service provider licence, although this only covers retail operations.

As for retail, licences have been issued for a number of racetracks and satellite facilities. These include Churchill Downs and Derby City Gaming, both in Louisville; Ellis Park in Henderson; The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run in Corbin; and The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland in Williamsburg.

Other approved sports wagering operators are Newport Racing and Gaming in Newport; Oak Grove Gaming and Racing in Oak Grove; The Red Mile in Lexington; and Turfway Park in Florence.

In addition, licences were awarded to three new facilities. These include Derby City Gaming in Louisville; Ellis Park in Owensboro; and Sandy’s Gaming and Racing in Ashland.

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