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Churchill Downs Plans To Open Kentucky Sportsbooks Sept. 7

Written By Katarina Vojvodic | Updated:
fans at sports bar cheering with churchill downs logo on television

After receiving approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced it will operate six racing and sportsbooks on its properties.

CDI properties will start accepting in-person sports bets on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Members of the KHRC voted to approve multiple sports betting license applications on Aug. 22. The KHRC issued licences to eight online sportsbooks in Kentucky which had already announced partnerships with land-based facilities in the state.

The commission also approved temporary licenses for three online sports betting service providers that will operate in partnership with CDI’s racetracks. They will start taking bets as early as Sept. 28.

Churchill Downs’ six race and sportsbooks ready to welcome bettors

CDI will operate physical sportsbooks at its racetracks and historical racing machine (“HRM”) venues in Kentucky at:

  1. Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville
  2. Derby City Gaming & Hotel in Louisville
  3. Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson
  4. Newport Racing & Gaming in Newport
  5. Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel in Oak Grove
  6. Turfway Park Racing & Gaming in Florence

The operator plans to include sports betting kiosks among existing bar and simulcast areas for a complete betting experience. Most sites will feature large format video screens or televisions to watch live racing as well as collegiate and professional sports.

According to the company’s press release, CDI’s HRM facilities will implement a “Bet & Jet” feature. The feature offers guests designated parking spaces for 15 minutes to “quickly and easily place their in-person sports wager.”

Gov. Beshear will place the state’s first bet on opening day

To celebrate the launch of Kentucky sports betting, CDI properties will host grand opening events with ribbon-cutting celebrations. CDI announced its locations will also provide discounts and offer sports betting promotions. 

On the opening day of retail sports betting, Sept. 7, Gov. Andy Beshear will place the first ceremonial sports bet in the state of Kentucky at Churchill Downs Racetrack at 10 a.m. (EDT).

Kentucky sports betting as a ‘tourism and economic development opportunity’

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, said in the company’s press release:

“CDI is excited to bring our experience operating retail sports wagering experiences to Kentucky with many thanks to the Kentucky General Assembly, Governor Beshear, the KHRC and the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet for their efforts in making this a reality.

Sports betting as a tourism and economic development opportunity will further strengthen the state’s signature equine industry by bringing new guests into our live and historical racing venues.”

Once fully implemented, sports betting in Kentucky is expected to generate a revenue increase of $23 million annually. The funds will be dedicated to the Kentucky permanent pension fund, while 2.5% will go to the problem gambling assistance account.

The state also imposes a new excise tax on revenue from in-person sports wagers of 9.75% and 14.25% on online bets.

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 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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