Churchill Downs Inc. continues to expand its reach in the gaming industry with the opening of its newest historical horse racing (HHR) gaming venue, Derby City Gaming Downtown, in Kentucky. The $90 million investment, announced in October 2021, has resulted in a 43,000-square-foot property located at 140 S. 4th St. in Louisville. This new venue features 500 HHR machines, a race and sportsbook, three restaurants, and a Kentucky Derby gift shop.
This new Louisville venue complements Churchill’s other HHR facility in the city, Derby City Gaming Hotel at Louisiana Downs, which boasts over 1,300 HHR games and a recently opened hotel with 123 guestrooms.
The goal of investing in Louisville is to help the city recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO Bill Carstanjen emphasized the importance of contributing to the community and helping downtown Louisville regain its vibrancy, especially considering the challenges it faced during the pandemic.
In addition to its operations in Louisville, Churchill Downs offers HHR gaming at its other four racetracks in Kentucky, reinforcing the company’s commitment to investing in the state.
While casino gambling remains prohibited in Kentucky, HHR devices have been legal in the state since 2010, following legislative efforts to define and regulate their operation. These machines simulate the experience of casino slot machines, but their outcomes are based on previously run horse races, aligning with the state’s horse racing heritage.
Churchill Downs is also making significant moves in Virginia, where it acquired Peninsula Pacific Entertainment for $2.5 billion. This acquisition included P2E’s HHR business in Virginia operating under the Rosie’s Gaming Emporium brand. The company currently operates seven Rosie’s HHR gaming parlors and is working on the development of a $372 million HHR resort called The Rose in Dumfries, 30 miles south of Washington, D.C.
With its expansion efforts in Kentucky and Virginia, Churchill Downs is positioning itself as a leader in the HHR gaming industry and is intent on contributing to the growth and revitalization of the communities in which it operates.