By David A. Mann – Reporter, Louisville Business First

Churchill Downs Inc. received approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to increase the number of historical racing machines for the opening of its new Derby City Gaming facility in Louisville.

The nearly complete 85,000-square-foot, $65 million facility is scheduled to open on Poplar Level Road in September. It will feature 900 machines, up from the 600 previously announced.

Churchill Downs Inc. requested approval for the additional machines because of widespread enthusiasm in the new venue, a news release said. The company anticipates significant consumer demand for these machines, which it believes will have a positive impact on Kentucky’s horse racing industry.

“We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve received since announcing Derby City Gaming — it’s clear that Kentuckians are passionate about how the new HRM facility will strengthen the commonwealth’s horse racing industry,” Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, said in the release. “Derby City Gaming will support Kentucky’s equine industry through larger purses and greater incentives for breeders and owners. That’s important because a stronger horse racing industry means a stronger Kentucky.”

Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack and senior vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated poses for a portrait at Churchill Downs.

Derby City Gaming is expected to create a total of 450 jobs, including 250 already involved in construction and an estimated 200 new full- and part-time jobs to operate and manage the facility. The company will soon be hosting job fairs to help fill these new positions.

Derby City Gaming will house two quick-service, walk-up food venues, as well as a bar with seating for 50 and large format televisions. The facility will open with a player’s club reward center offering special perks and benefits, including an exclusive parking area for loyal guests.

Derby City Gaming is located at 4520 Poplar Level Road, which was formerly the company’s Trackside site (also known as the former Sports Spectrum.) It’s located less than half a mile from the Poplar Level Road exit off the Watterson Expressway.

The Horse Racing Commission also conditionally approved the Ainsworth Game Technology historical racing operating system and an initial group of game themes for the Derby City Gaming machines, the release said.

Historical race wagering machines are similar in look and feel to slot machines and can be designed with different styles of push-button games, Flanery said previously. The numbers generated for the games are patterned off historical horse races that already were run, and players can receive background on the races while playing — though not enough to reveal the race or the results.

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