By DAVID MATTINGLY | WAVE 3 News
Churchill Downs Inc. will expand off-track betting to downtown Louisville.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved a plan allowing Churchill Downs to lease and operate what is described as a “racetrack extension.”
The extension will include up to a dozen pari-mutuel betting machines and simulcast racing in a private, members-only club.
The venture is a partnership between Churchill Downs and the owners of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society.
“These are stand-alone betting machines just like you’re at the racetrack,” said Gene McLean, one of the founders of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society. “You can go, put your money in, you can price your wager and at the end of the day you can put your voucher in and take your cash out. So it would be just like you were at the turf club at Churchill Downs.”
Final approval of the deal depends on the outcome of an ongoing background check of the LTS owners.
Renovations also are underway on East Main Street. A building from the 1800s will be the LTS’ new home.
“This is an exciting partnership with a team that is passionate about seeing horse racing thrive in Kentucky,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said.
“We are pleased to provide additional opportunities for fans to wager and look forward to seeing how the product is embraced by the locals,” he added.
Membership in the Louisville Thoroughbred Society will cost about $1,600 a year after an initiation fee of about $500.
The club is expected to open next year before the Derby.