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Churchill Downs Expands in Louisville with Derby City Gaming Downtown

Churchill Downs Expands in Louisville with Derby City Gaming Downtown

New multi-level venue will enhance Bourbon City’s entertainment and nightlife scene

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (September 30, 2021) – Louisville’s downtown visitors will soon be able to get a taste of Churchill Downs’ legendary horse racing experience without leaving the central business district by visiting Derby City Gaming Downtown, a new venue featuring historical racing machines, premium bourbon experiences, sports watching and live entertainment.

This planned facility, a 43,000-square-foot entertainment venue, is slated for 140 South 4th Street, just diagonal to the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC). Derby City Gaming Downtown will initially include 500 historical racing machines, a fresh-air gaming area and over 200 onsite parking spaces. 

This new entertainment hub will provide guests — including locals, tourists and convention attendees — three unique bar concepts: a main-level sports bar with a stage for music and live entertainment, a premium bourbon library and an elegant wine and charcuterie lounge. A retail and merchandise store will be located on the street level where guests can shop for Kentucky Derby-themed merchandise. Construction will begin later this year with an anticipated opening date in early 2023.

“Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) is committed to investing in the city of Louisville and today we are particularly excited to announce this new downtown entertainment venue," said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “It is important that Louisville is a city that is thriving — a great place to live, work and visit and we are committed to helping create economic vibrancy for every area of our community.”

“We applaud Churchill Downs for their continued investment in Louisville’s hospitality infrastructure. Having a downtown touchpoint with one of our most iconic brand pillars is a boon to helping us successfully market our destination,” said Cleo Battle, Louisville Tourism President & CEO. “The attraction will fulfill a need for much-requested evening options for convention delegates and give locals and visitors alike another authentic experience to enjoy in the heart of Bourbon & Derby City.”

Churchill Downs has recently announced several high-profile development projects opening over the next three years that will focus on upgrading seating and spectator experiences. The Homestretch Club, slated to be completed by the 2022 Kentucky Derby, will give an ideal view of the starting gate and offer ‘courtside seat’ experiences with VIP hospitality lounges and grand 100-foot bar. The 2023 planned Turn 1 Experience will add premium covered seating with an adjacent trackside viewing terrace while the Paddock Redesign will offer new seating and guest experiences while improving pedestrian traffic flow through the popular plaza when completed in 2024.

Churchill Downs opened the original Derby City Gaming location about six miles from Churchill Down Racetrack in 2018 with an 85,000-square-feet facility. Derby City Gaming has already expanded once and has a third, 135,000-square-feet expansion - along with a five-story on-site hotel in the pipeline to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023. Derby City Gaming operates historical racing machines, which is an electronic gambling system that allows players to bet on the outcome of historical horse races which have already been previously run.

When planning a trip to Louisville, guests can download a copy of the Louisville Tourism’s annual Visitor Guide to help plan a tour around Louisville to see the city's top attractions and bourbon distilleries. Visitors also can get additional city attraction, lodging and dining assistance at gotolouisville.com along with information on the state’s current covid-mitigation guidelines.

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Rosanne Mastin

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