Churchill Downs Gets New York Casino License

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on October 28, 2022
churchill downs del lago casino takeover

The New York Gaming Commission announced on Thursday it had unanimously approved a casino license for del Lago Casino and Resort in central New York.

Maureen Adams, Churchill Downs’ senior vice president for gaming operations, said:

“We’re very excited about this deal.”

Now owned by the Kentucky-based Churchill Downs, the property was purchased earlier this year as part of a larger buyout of another gaming company.

Official new ownership for del Lago Casino

del Lago Casino and Resort in Waterloo is spread across 96,000 square-foot area and includes:

  • 1,700 slot machines
  • 80 table games
  • 205-room hotel
  • nine restaurants and bars

The property also features a DraftKings Sportsbook that stretches over 6,000-square-foot, a 2,400-seat indoor entertainment venue and a 7,200-square-foot outdoor space.

Peninsula Pacific LLC previously owned del Lago. The casino’s original developer, the Rochester-based Wilmorite company, sold 50% of its casino interest to Peninsula Pacific in 2019.

In February of this year, Churchill Downs decided to expand its empire and acquire Peninsula Pacific Entertainment in a deal worth nearly $2.5 billion. With the acquisition of P2E, Churchill Downs obtained assets in Iowa, New York, and Virginia. Those included 12 casinos or “racinos,” including the Finger Lakes’ del Lago Casino and Resort.

Best known for the Kentucky Derby horse race, Churchill Downs also owns an online gambling platform, TwinSpires, which provides online horse race wagering for Saratoga Race Course and other venues.

One of the four commercial casinos in upstate New York

Located between Rochester and Syracuse along the Thruway, del Lago Casino and Resort is one of the four original upstate venues that opened after voters approved such services in a constitutional referendum. Other places are:

  • Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady
  • Tioga Downs west of Binghamton in the Southern Tier
  • Resorts World Catskills near Monticello in Sullivan County

While del Lago, Rivers Casino, and Tioga Downs opened their doors in 2017, Resorts World in the Catskills opened in 2018.

The four commercial casinos compete with seven others covered by compact with Native American tribes – the Oneida, Akwesasne Mohawk nations and more. New York is set to award three more licenses for downstate casinos early next year.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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