Instant racing opens Sept. 1 at Western Ky. track

W. Kentucky track to open room with 200 machines Sept. 1

jpatton1@herald-leader.comAugust 23, 2011 

Kentucky Downs will open its gambling room with 200 instant racing machines on Sept. 1, the Franklin track announced Monday.

A brief opening ceremony is planned at 10 a.m., then it is off to the historical races.

Instant racing allows players to bet on previously run races; the games are designed to mimic electronic slots or video lottery terminals and appeal to bettors who wouldn't necessarily be drawn to traditional pari- mutuel wagering.

Kentucky Downs received approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to offer six different games; the gambling room will be open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

"We could not be more excited about taking the next steps in our plans to fully develop Kentucky Downs as a year-round entertainment destination," Corey Johnsen, Kentucky Downs president, said in a news release.

"With the unanimous support of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Kentucky Downs will lead the way in bringing expanded gaming options to Kentucky and to generate many positive benefits for both the local economy and for the Kentucky horse industry."

Steve Thurmond, executive director of the Franklin-Simpson County Chamber of Commerce, said the local business community is "thrilled" with the track's investment and grateful for new jobs for residents.

Johnsen has said the track hired 85 people and could generate millions of dollars in tax revenue annually for the state.

Other racetracks, including Ellis Park in Henderson, will be watching Johnsen's results. Ellis Park owner Ron Geary said he is considering putting machines in later this year.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals still must rule on a challenge from The Family Foundation on the games' legality.

Reach Janet Patton at (859) 231-3264 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3264.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service