Churchill Downs Unveils Gaming Facility Just Across Tennessee Border

Posted on September 16, 2020

West Tennessee residents officially have a new gaming option available just 2.5 miles across the Kentucky border.

Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel opens Friday, Sept. 18 in Oak Grove, Kentucky. The new venue is located just north of the Tennessee border off Interstate 24 near Clarksville, Tennessee.

The new $200 million racing and gaming facility is a joint venture between Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) and Keeneland Association, Inc.

Oak Grove’s state-of-the-art gaming floor

Construction on the Oak Grove facility began in April of 2019. However, the project was delayed in early 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What began as a $150 million project has turned into a roughly $200 million venture. This was due to unexpected construction costs and modifications.

The new Oak Grove facility features a historical racing machine (HRM) gaming floor with more than 1,300 slot-like machines. To clarify, HRMs are video gambling machines that allow users to wager on races that have previously taken place.

These HRM games are developed using an algorithm based on results from tens of thousands of historical races. Bets as low as 10 cents can be placed on these machines.

A high limit gaming room is available for those craving greater stakes. Bets of a minimum $50-a-spin are available on exclusive game themes including 88 Fortunes, Stinkin’ Rich and Lock It Link.

Vegas-sized thrills in Kentucky

This Kentucky venue intends to compete with Las Vegas and Atlantic City gaming facilities, offering residents all the amenities and excitement of the west without the long-distance travel.

As a result, CDI expects Oak Grove to become a premier entertainment destination for Western Kentucky and the entire Southeast.

In addition to its gaming amenities, the venue houses a five-story hotel, four restaurants, multiple bars and event centers. These lively bars, luxurious lounges and top-shelf steakhouses all come complete with large format TVs and state-of-the-art design.

Bar and dining options include:

  • The Garrison Oak Steakhouse
  • Lucky Lime Tex Mex
  • SGT. Peppers Po’Boys and Burgers
  • O’Dark Thirty Coffee House
  • Peak-A-Boo Lounge

The amenities at Oak Grove will open on a staggered basis. The gaming facility initially launches on Sept. 18. Then come the new 128-room hotel and a 30-slip RV park in October.

Subsequently, the new equestrian center and amphitheater will be revealed in November. The indoor equestrian center will host rodeos, circuses and more. The amphitheater will serve as an outdoor stage for concerts.

Additionally, the venue’s second season of live harness racing will kick off in October and run through November.

Oak Grove offers a new gaming option for Tennessee residents

A new gaming casino in western Kentucky is ideal for residents of west Tennessee.

The location’s proximity to Nashville is a top reason for breaking ground in the market. Moreover, CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen noted the area’s strong market research results.

Recently, an online poll found that regional residents are itching for a new gaming option like Oak Grove. Out of roughly 1,000 people, 59.5% said they are excited to give HRMs a try.

The next closest gaming facility for area residents is Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Kentucky. Kentucky Downs unveiled their brand new 30,000 square-foot expansion called Mint Gaming Hall at Kentucky Downs earlier in September.

360 Degree Approach to Safety

Per CDI’s “360 Degree Approach to Safety” program, Oak Grove will operate under a reduced capacity, and the facility will enforce all updated guidelines.

Most importantly, these guidelines include an emphasis on social distancing, improved cleaning procedures and personal protective equipment.

Guests will enter in an orderly fashion and have their temperature checked at the door. The adequate roadways and parking surrounding Oak Grove will allow the venue to properly enforce these spacing guidelines.

If you’re looking for a safe vacation option and want to check out Kentucky’s latest gaming facility, Oak Grove may offer the perfect opportunity.

Photo by AP Newsroom
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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