Kentucky Downs To Add 600 Historical Horse Racing Terminals in September

Posted on July 24, 2020 - Last Updated on July 29, 2020

This week, Kentucky Downs announced details concerning its ongoing multi-phase expansion project. When guests visit the newly redone gaming hall in September, they will find several additions including more than 600 new historical horse racing terminals.

By the time all the additions to the 30,000-square-foot gaming hall are complete, there will be around 1,100 historical horse racing terminals in the facility.

Added machines part of new owners’ multi-phase expansion

Kentucky Downs is located just across the Tennessee border in Franklin off Interstate 65.

The thoroughbred race track and gaming facility had shut down from mid-March until mid-June due to the coronavirus pandemic. The gaming hall has now reopened and is currently operating at limited capacity.

Meanwhile the track plans to begin hosting races again in early September. The unveiling of the newly renovated gaming facility will coincide with the running of the first meet on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Kentucky Downs features a unique European-style turf race track. The track is longer than American tracks and has an asymmetrical “kidney” shape. The facility is also a popular off-track betting destination.

The expansion began last year after the facility changed ownership. Entrepreneur Ron Winchell and gaming executive Marc Falcone became new majority owners of Kentucky Downs in February 2019.

Other additions coming by September will include:

  • A new multimedia bar
  • Entertainment stage
  • High-limit betting area
  • Additional dining options

Historical horse racing offers betting alternative for fans

The historical horse racing terminals, also known as instant racing or historical race wagering, are slots-like machines that allow users to bet on replays of horse races. Kentucky Downs first introduced the terminals in 2011, after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission revised its definition of pari-mutuel wagering to allow them.

The terminals draw from an extensive library of tens of thousands of horse races. Users are presented generic handicapping information from a randomly selected race in order to place wagers.

They receive no identifying details such as dates or the names of horses or jockeys. Players make their selections and then get to watch the race play out either via video or computer animation.

Some machines incorporate slots-like graphics such as spinning reels and cascading symbols, creating an aesthetic similar to other video slots. For those without handicapping knowledge, the games can be played like slots by using game-provided shortcuts to make selections automatically.

A handful of states offer historical horse wagering. In some cases the machines function to help live tracks with light schedules remain in operation.

Indeed, should the spread of COVID-19 force live racing to shut down again going forward, the added historical horse racing machines may prove especially useful to Kentucky Downs.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.

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