Churchill Downs gets final approval from state for new 'historical' gaming facility
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission gave final approval Tuesday to Derby City Gaming, the $60 million historical racing facility by Churchill Downs that is currently under construction on Poplar Level Road.
Historical racing, also called "instant" racing, allows gamblers to use devices resembling slot machines to bet on races that have already run.
Approval by the Horse Racing Commission in Lexington is contingent upon Churchill Downs completing what the commission calls "fairly minor" requirements to the proposed 85,000-square-foot facility. Under current plans, the gaming area will feature 600 historical racing machines, a simulcast wagering area and a player’s club reward center.
"It is normal," said Franklin Kling, chairman of the Kentucky Horse Commission. "These are items that, for instance, we haven't seen the games set up in the position they're in, security is a last-minute thing to look at to make sure that's OK ... It's all very minor."
The commission is also approving the vendor which will supply and operate the betting terminals, Australia-based Ainsworth Gaming Technology.
"They would open up with 900 terminals initially, but this would be an approval for a maximum of up to 2,000 terminals," said Steve May, director of Parimutuel Wagering.
Derby City Gaming is a bit of a gamble for Churchill Downs. The courts have yet to finally rule on whether historical racing is legal in Kentucky.
"We had an extensive trial on that in January of 2018," said John Forgy, the attorney for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. "We confidently believe that it is, and we are awaiting the court's opinion on that."
Officials from Churchill Downs would not offer much comment Tuesday, saying only "we're excited."
Derby City Gaming set to open at the former home of Louisville Downs in September. It will be the fourth historical racing venue in Kentucky.
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