Derby City Gaming, HHR Entertainment Now Open In Louisville, KY

Written By Tebearau Egbe on December 11, 2023
Derby City Gaming Downtown Exterior Video Board

Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) is taking up space in Kentucky as it recently opened a new venue for historical horse racing machines in downtown Louisville. Valued at $90 million, this establishment marks Churchill’s sixth location in the Bluegrass State.

At the launch of Derby City Gaming, which took place last week, a $40,000 charity donation was made to Norton Healthcare Foundation and The Hope Buss right after the ribbon cutting. This act of charity, management noted, is driven by its commitment to rejuvenating downtown Louisville.

Through the development of this venue, Churchill Downs has successfully generated approximately 400 construction jobs, ultimately leading to the creation of 150 permanent positions.

What does Derby City Gaming feature?

The Derby City Gaming venue, which is just five miles away from the historic Churchill Downs Racetrack, has a lot of features for comfort and easy accessibility for its guests. Hence, the facility consists of:

  • A 43,000-square-meter two-story building
  • A gaming floor
  • A gift shop
  • 500 state-of-the-art historical racing machines
  • 130 on-site parking spaces
  • An exterior 3D video board (which is the first of its kind in the region)

Additionally, the new Churchill Venue includes three food and beverage restaurants, namely Trophy Bar Bourbon & Cigars, Fascinator Wine Bar, and First Turn Sports Bar & Stage.

First Turn Sports Bar at Derby City Gaming
First Turn Sports Bar at Derby City Gaming

In a press release, Churchill Downs highlighted the words of its Chief Executive Officer, Bill Carstanjen. He expressed that this entertainment venue is ready to become a significant tourist attraction in Kentucky, contributing substantially to the state’s revenue regeneration.

“This project is one of which I’m particularly proud because, in addition to its impact of the Kentucky horse industry, it’s going to bring new energy to our downtown and stimulate investments like it.

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 (D) also emphasized the state’s deep commitment to horse racing, considering it an integral part of its 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.

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 initiated the #MyDerbyMemory competition, encouraging fans worldwide to share their Derby reminiscences on social media. Participants can win a pair of tickets to the 150th Kentucky Derby running on May 4, 2024.

Kentucky welcomes sports betting legalization

The Bluegrass State eventually authorized legal online sports betting in September after several years of stalling. Retail sports betting in Kentucky launched on Sept. 7 and online gambling followed on the 27.

Many horse betting operators have already commenced operations in the state:

  • DraftKings (retail and online)
  • Fanatics (online)
  • FanDuel (online)
  • Penn Sports Interactive (online)
  • Bet365 (online)
  • Kambi (retail)
  • Circa Sports (online)
  • Caesars (retail and online)

Given the presence of big-name players in the online gaming industry within the state and the establishment of approximately 50,000 betting accounts, Kentucky is already generating $250 million in wagers.

“Kentucky is approaching $250 million wagered. That is a strong number that certainly reflects excitement for the opening of sports wagering. It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky,” Beshear continued.

Photo by Derby City Gaming Downtown
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Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe has written about gambling for more than four years. She has a Master's degree in philosophy and possesses a unique ability to dissect complex industry developments, distilling them into insightful narratives for readers.

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