Churchill Downs unveils list of retail sportsbook facilities ahead of Kentucky’s market launch

Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) is all set to introduce sports betting at its facilities in Kentucky and online, following the granting of operator licenses by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission earlier this week.

In-person sports betting will kick off on Thursday, September 7, just in time for the start of the football season. CDI has unveiled details about what patrons can expect at its various locations.

The flagship Churchill Downs Racetrack will feature 15 sports betting kiosks, a 168-square-foot video screen, and an additional 20 large format screens. These kiosks will be integrated into existing bar and racing simulcast areas, allowing bettors to watch live racing and sports while also placing bets.

However, the Churchill Downs track won’t be CDI’s sole location for sports betting in Kentucky. Other venues, including Derby City Gaming and Hotel in Louisville, Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson, Newport Racing & Gaming in Newport, Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel in Oak Grove, and Turfway Park Racing & Gaming in Florence, will also offer sports wagering services.

The full list of CDI’s retail Race and Sports Books opening on September 7 includes:

  • Churchill Downs Racetrack: 15 sports betting kiosks, 168 sq. ft. video screen, 20 large format televisions 
  • Derby City Gaming & Hotel: 15 sports betting kiosks, 300 sq. ft. video screen, 12 large format televisions 
  • Ellis Park Racing & Gaming: 5 sports betting kiosks 
  • Newport Racing & Gaming: 10 sports betting kiosks, 20 large format televisions 
  • Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel: 20 sports betting kiosks, 300 sq. ft. video screen, 8 large format televisions 
  • Turfway Park Racing & Gaming: 15 sports betting kiosks, 300 sq. ft. video screen, 16 large format televisions 

Bridget Harmon, General Manager of Derby City Gaming, highlighted the diversity of sports available for betting, telling WLKY: “You can bet on basketball, you can bet on baseball, you can bet on hockey, you can bet on tennis, you can bet on soccer. Any sport you think of, you can pretty much bet here.”

Preparations are in full swing to set up the necessary equipment to facilitate sports betting at these venues. To further accommodate visitors, each track will provide 15-minute “bet and jet” parking for quick and convenient in-person wagering.

The introduction of sports betting in Kentucky marks a milestone for the Bluegrass State’s gaming industry, as patrons will no longer need to leave the state to bet on their chosen sports teams and players.

“We’re expecting big crowds. And the nice thing is, we’re ready for them,” Harmon further told WLKY. “We’re hoping there’s lines out the door to place that first bet.

The opening of sports betting at these locations will be accompanied by various promotions, themed food and beverages, and, notably, Governor Andy Beshear’s ceremonial sports wager, scheduled to take place at Churchill Downs.

CDI plans to extend its sportsbooks to Derby City Gaming in downtown Louisville and an Ellis Park extension in Owensboro, two future sites that will not be ready by the initial launch date.

Online sports wagering is slated to commence on September 28, 2023. CDI intends to partner with sports wagering operators FanDuel, Penn Sports Interactive, and Fanatics to offer mobile betting.