Churchill Downs’ Derby City Gaming Downtown Now Open in Louisville, Kentucky

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Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) recently celebrated the grand opening of Derby City Gaming Downtown in Louisville, Kentucky.

This new $90 million venue, located at 140 South Fourth Street, opened its doors on December 6. It is now CDI’s sixth historical racing machine (HRM) venue among casinos in Kentucky.

HRM machines offer slots-style gaming, with the results of each bet linked to an anonymized historical horse race.

The venue also adds to the newly formed list of Kentucky retail sportsbooks, with retail betting kiosks and screens at its First Turn Sports Bar.

CDI is the owner of Churchill Downs Racecourse, the home of the iconic Kentucky Derby. In fitting with that history, the new Louisville venue will be themed around the famous Triple Crown race and jewel of Kentucky horse betting.

Expanding Kentucky’s Gambling Options

The launch of the new Derby City Gaming Downtown was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local dignitaries, as well as a $40,000 donation to local charity initiatives Norton Healthcare Foundation and The Hope Buss.

DCG Downtown spans an impressive 43,000 square feet, spread across two floors, with the distinctive horse racing theme prominently displayed.

Beyond gaming, the venue enhances the local entertainment scene with three unique culinary experiences. These include the Kentucky-style Trophy Bar Bourbon & Cigars, providing a selection of fine local bourbons and hand-rolled cigars, and the Fascinator Wine Bar, offering an intimate atmosphere with a curated wine list.

Additionally, the venue is equipped with 130 on-site parking spaces and features an eye-catching exterior façade to match the Kentucky Derby theme.

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

Investing in the Spirit of Louisville

The construction of DCG Downtown was a significant economic boon, creating 400 construction jobs and more than 150 permanent positions. CDI’s partnership with Messer Construction for this project emphasized supplier diversity, economic inclusion, and community engagement.

More than $14 million of the project’s budget was allocated to minority, women, and veteran-owned subcontracting services. This financial commitment shows CDI’S diverse, inclusive, and community minded approach to the development.

“Derby City Gaming 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 Governor Andy Beshear, who presided over the legalization of sports betting in the state earlier this year, highlighted the venue’s alignment with Kentucky’s rich racing heritage.

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

“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.”

Churchill Downs’ Milestone Amid Challenging Market

The opening of DCG Downtown aligns with the 150-day countdown to the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.

To commemorate this milestone, Churchill Downs Racetrack unveiled the official Kentucky Derby 150 Mint Julep Glass and Kentucky Oaks 150 Lily Glass. Additionally, the #MyDerbyMemory contest was launched, inviting fans worldwide to share their Derby memories on social media for a chance to win tickets to the historic 150th Kentucky Derby, scheduled for May 4, 2024.

The operator will be looking to make the most of its 150-year heritage heading into 2024, as 2023 has been a challenging year for U.S. horse racing.

Shortly after the 2023 Derby, CDI suspended racing at Churchill Downs for several months after a series of a dozen horse deaths, reopening with new and improved safety procedures.

Over the year, California horse betting lost the iconic Golden Gate Fields Racetrack in San Francisco and Arizona horse racing lost Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Both venues had been operating for more than fifty years.

Most recently, more than two dozen race horses died in a fire after an arson attack at Tioga Downs racecourse in New York.

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