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Would Harness Racing Make a 2019 Return to Kentucky Thanks to Churchill Downs?

Horse racing has always been one of the preferred pastimes for gaming enthusiasts and now leader in the field Churchill Downs announced its plans to elevate player experience in the region. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission saw the application joint application between the racecourse and Thoroughbred auction company Keeneland Association which would see the introduction of harness racing to its soon-to-launch Derby City Gaming historical racing facility and subsequently to Oak Grove Racetrack in 2020.

The following weeks would be heated ones for the management of Churchill Downs, as harness racing could receive a chance to once again make players in the region part of the Standardbred racing world. If the filed in application receives the nod of authorities, this would result in the introduction of harness racing to the future instant racing venue located in Louisville. This could mean one more gaming offering which could be bet on once sports betting receives the approval of state lawmakers.

Next year could see a total of 10 days of Standardbred race, striving to boost the sector and provide local horsemen with a chance to showcase their potential. The importance of this introduction has been stressed before, leading to actions taking place. Following the closure of Thunder Ridge race course in Prestonburg, the field witnessed hunger for race dates, which could be satisfied with the help of this new joint venture, in order to improve the state of horsemen community.

Once approval of the application has been given, the year 2020 could see Standardbred racing being relocated to Oak Grove Racetrack in Christian County following its launch. The $125-million project is projected to bring change to the region with its horse racing arenas, outdoor amphitheater, 1,500 historical racing machines available on site among others. An adjacent hotel tower featuring 125 hotel rooms available or booking is also set to bring the project full circle.

Historical Racing Track Launches Next Week

The official opening of Derby City Gaming is set to 14th September, giving enough time for the final touches to be placed. However, several soft openings would be sprinkled prior to it, the first one being next Monday. A total of 200 people would oversee operation of the new venue, making sure all racing enthusiasts experience premium gaming on a total of 600 historical racing devices.

The gambling operator which oversees management of Churchill Downs located in Louisville, Kentucky is renown for its gambling operation throughout the years and this could be visible by the popularity of its racetrack. It hosts the annual Kentucky Derby which attracts the attention of sports wagering enthusiasts from near and far. Derby City Gaming’s addition is projected to bring more to the region and attract players willing to utilize its simulcast offerings.

For the time being harness racing within the state of Kentucky is available only at The Red Mile race course in Lexington, as well as at Bluegrass Downs in Paducah. Both of them are not able to reach a substantial number of race dates which has prompted the application. Concerns have been expressed by the Council on Problem Gambling, as more gaming offerings available and accessible throughout the state could in a surge of gambling addiction rates over the span of the following years.

The only positive outcome of the situation for Mike Stone, Chairman of the Council, is that cash inflow of such operation could then be allocated to problem gambling initiatives and people seeking help.

Sports Betting Talks See Progress

According to the information provided, 8th January, 2019 is set to witness the official start of the new Kentucky General Assembly which could potentially bring a fresh start to sports betting within the borders of the state as well. Now in the months prior to it, nine lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats commenced work on finding the easiest and most beneficial path to sports betting legalization. This could happen through lottery activities already existing on a state level.

No constitutional amendment would be needed, as it was confirmed by Jason Nemes (R-Louisville), but the introduction of a special regulator overseeing sports wagering activities would be needed. It would join the already existing Horse Racing Commission and Lottery Commission.

Kentucky could manage to attract players and prevent money leak to neighboring states such as West Virginia only by keeping up to date and remaining competitive in an ever-changing gaming field.

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 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.