International edition
June 18, 2021

They filed an application in partnership with the Keeneland Association

Kentucky Downs' owners seek new casino, harness track license

Kentucky Downs' owners seek new casino, harness track license
The partnership includes Keeneland and Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone, who are the majority investors in Kentucky Downs.
United States | 09/22/2020

The partnership filed the application to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission late last week. They request approval to build a new harness track in Corbin, as well as a casino 10 miles south in Williamsburg that would be tied to the new racing license. The state still has two open licenses.

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partnership of the Keeneland Association and the majority owners of Kentucky Downs has filed an application for a racing license in southeastern Kentucky in order to open a casino in the area.

Marc Guilfoil, the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said the partnership filed the application late last week, as reported by DRF. The application seeks approval to build a new harness track in Corbin, Kentucky, as well as a casino 10 miles south in Williamsburg that would be tied to the new racing license, Guilfoil said.

In Kentucky, only licensed parimutuel facilities can operate slot machine devices known as historical horseracing machines. The devices have generated hundreds of millions of dollars for their operators since being legalized in 2012, as well as rich subsidies for racing purses and breeders’ awards.

The partnership issued a release on Monday stating its intention to seek the license, which would apply to both facilities. Under Kentucky law, the racing commission is limited in the number of parimutuel licenses it can award, but the state still has two open licenses, according to Guilfoil.

Both Corbin and Williamsburg are located within 30 miles of the Tennessee border, along the I-75 interstate, and between 30 and 40 miles from the Tennessee city of Knoxville. Existing Kentucky casinos located near the border with Tennessee, such as the one operated by Kentucky Downs in Franklin, draw the majority of their customers from the state.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has already awarded an “adjunct” license to Churchill Downs to operate a casino at its Trackside training center south of the track. Guilfoil said that the racing commission will schedule a meeting of its racing dates committee for the first discussion of the license sought by the Keeneland partnership.

In its release, the partnership said that it was working with “state and local officials” on their plans for the two facilities. The partnership includes Keeneland and Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone, who are the majority investors in Kentucky Downs.

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