Churchill Downs Investing $200M In Derby City Gaming

  • Churchill Downs operates Derby City Gaming, a historic horse racing based gambling house.
  • Historic horse racing is a slot-machine-like experience that is defined as parimutuel wagering by Kentucky.
  • Churchill Downs is looking to reinvest $200 million in upgrades into Derby City Gaming.

LOUISVILLE - Churchill Downs, perhaps the most famous horse racing destination in America, is planning on spending more than $200 million on upgrades and new buildings near their Louisville gambling house.

The home of the Kentucky Derby announced plans to expand its Derby City Gaming facility, a gambling house that it operates on Poplar Level Road in Louisville.

Derby City Gaming opened up in 2018 and has been a solid income source for Churchill Downs since that time.

Now, the company looks to reinvest in the business that has brought them so much, and build additions to the gaming facility. Currently, Derby City Gaming features more than 900 historic horse racing machines, which offer a gameplay experience very similar to slot machines, but are not classified as slot machines.

The expansions and additions that this $200 million investment will provide includes a five star hotel, a new sports bar, and a stage for live entertainment.

In addition, there will also be improvements to the number of historic horse racing machines available at Derby City Gaming.

They plan to add up to 400 more historic horse racing machines, which would bring the total number of historic horse racing machines to around 1300.

These historic horse racing machines are huge profit drivers, with average daily wagers currently at over $4,000.

Adding 400 extra machines could go a long way towards making the gambling house even more economically viable.

How Does Historic Horse Racing Work?

It’s important to note that casinos are not legal in Kentucky, but Derby City Gaming, by using historic horse racing machines, offers a casino-like experience to those who enjoy slot machine gameplay.

Historic horse race machines allow those who use them to bet on the outcome of horse races that took place decades ago. Critically, information such as when the race happened, the names of the horses, and the names of the jockeys are not shown.

With so many small stakes horse races over the years, this effectively means that the player is choosing at random, and can repeat the process very quickly.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission took steps to change its own definition of parimutuel wagering in order to fit historic horse racing under it.

This ruling allows parimutuel operators like Churchill Downs to effectively offer a slot-machine-like experience with enough elements of parimutuel wagering that it is legally defined as such.

Thus, gamblers in Kentucky have the option of traveling to Derby City Gaming instead of going out of state or online to play the slots.