Churchill Downs Inaugurates New Casino in Kentucky

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Churchill Downs Inc (CDI) has opened a new casino in Louisville, Kentucky, expanding its presence in the state. Derby City Gaming Downtown held its inauguration on Wednesday, exactly 150 days before the 150th Kentucky Derby.

The Blue Grass is Greener

In June 2022, the Derby City Gaming and Hotel witnessed the long-awaited opening of its hotel accommodations. Initially launched in 2018 as a venue for playing historical horse racing (HHR) machines, the property evolved and grew to encompass a hotel.

Related: Churchill Downs' Major Impact on the US Gambling and Sports Betting Industries

As a result of this expansion and the unfortunate downturn experienced by downtown Louisville due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDI is investing heavily to reinvigorate the area. CDI's new casino cost $90 million to build. This will go a long way toward helping Downtown Louisville undergo a massive transformation, adopting a revolutionary model approach to revitalize the area.

This addition to the Twin Spiers Racetrack intends to provide a unique experience for visitors. Among its offerings are a gaming floor with 500 HHR betting machines, along with multiple bars and captivating entertainment options. Among the plethora of offerings at this location is a trifecta of dining options paying homage to the illustrious Kentucky Derby: Primordial Bend Sports Tavern, Exquisite Bend Food Emporium and Pioneering Bend Bistro.

Derby City Gaming Downtown is the sixth establishment of its kind in Kentucky. Furthermore, CDI boasts 27 similar properties scattered across 13 states.

Transforming Louisville

William Carstanjen, the president of CDI, anticipates the creation of roughly 150 to 200 permanent job opportunities at the new venue. He highlighted the advantageous location in a statement, emphasizing the convenient access it provides to various attractions such as the Kentucky International Convention Center, downtown restaurants, museums and other intriguing tours.

Furthermore, Carstanjen aims to cultivate an environment that promotes philanthropic enterprises. He hopes to encourage the emergence of businesses within close proximity, especially those interested in contributing to the development of rural areas.

Downtown Louisville awaits a promising uplift due to the venue's anticipated social enhancements. However, the potential for economic prosperity through horse racing remains incredibly promising.

Thomas Lambert, an economist and equine industry assistant professor of economics at the University of Louisville, reports that historically, from July to September, historical horse racing has generated $2.3 billion in revenue. In comparison, live horseracing is worth only $34 million.

The new casino will have a significant impact on Louisville's economic impact. Lambert forecasts that, between the new jobs, new tourism activity and more, the city could boost its economic activity by as much as $28.6 million a year.