LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Churchill Downs Inc. not plans to construct a seven-story lodge at its iconic Louisville racetrack.
And whereas the corporate desires to construct a second Louisville venue with gaming machines like these at its Derby Metropolis Gaming venue on Poplar Degree Street, executives are rethinking whether or not the gaming venue ought to be on the racetrack or elsewhere, corresponding to downtown Louisville.
“We could resolve to construct a lodge on the racetrack sooner or later, however now is just not the correct time,” CEO Invoice Carstanjen stated on the corporate’s quarterly earnings name Thursday. “We predict we’ve got glorious, different tasks that provide higher returns on our capital over shorter intervals.”
Churchill Downs broke ground in late 2019 on a building addition to the First Turn area of the monitor, which was set to incorporate the hotel, a permanent grandstand with 4,700 new seats and a gaming facility featuring up to 1,000 slots-like historical racing machines, which have been successful on the firm’s two-year-old Derby Metropolis Gaming venue on Poplar Degree Street.
Churchill Downs put the capital tasks – which might value $300 million in all – on maintain final 12 months amid the pandemic.
Carstanjen stated the corporate now plans upgrades on the racetrack, with a undertaking to be accomplished prematurely of the 2022 Kentucky Derby; one other prematurely of the 2023 Derby; and the “third and most transformative undertaking” in 2024. However he didn’t disclose what the corporate plans.
“We’re enthusiastic about what’s to return at Churchill Down Racetrack over the subsequent three years, however we aren’t able to share our detailed plans right this moment,” he stated.
In an electronic mail to WDRB Information, Churchill Downs spokeswoman Tonya Abeln stated the three-year plan for the racetrack “will contain some further everlasting seating however it is going to be reimagined from what was described in relation to the lodge. These designs haven’t been finalized at the moment however ought to be by subsequent quarter.”
Talking on the decision, Carstanjen stated the softness within the lodge market introduced on by the pandemic modified the funding calculus for the lodge.
“There may be much more danger in a undertaking like that simply due to the disruption of journey and motion across the nation,” he stated. “We predict there are simply higher tasks for us to do this are increased return, decrease danger.”
Gaming venue downtown?
Carstanjen reiterated Churchill Downs’ plan so as to add a gaming venue that includes the slots-like machines in Louisville, however the firm seems to be rethinking whether or not it ought to be on the racetrack. Carstanjen recommended that it may very well be downtown, with out elaborating.
“As you heard on the decision, (Churchill Downs) is exploring the place to find the (historic racing machine) alternative inside Louisville,” Abeln stated within the electronic mail.
Regardless of working at 60% capability or much less due to the pandemic, Derby Metropolis Gaming generated “report” income of $33 million within the first three months of 2021, the corporate stated in its earnings launch. The venue has 1,225 gaming machines that resemble slots, although solely 728 had been lively as of February, in keeping with the state horse racing fee.
“We consider the (Louisville) market will assist a satellite tv for pc facility that doesn’t materially cannibalize Derby Metropolis Gaming,” Carstanjen stated.
Churchill Downs has stated it’s licensed for 3,000 historic racing machines. On the decision, Carstanjen stated the machines should be inside a 60-mile radius of the monitor at 700 Central Avenue, and that space “contains downtown Louisville.”
Abeln didn’t instantly reply when requested if Churchill Downs might add gaming machines on the racetrack and likewise at a 3rd facility within the Louisville market. She stated that might rely on state regulation and the consent of the state horse racing fee.
In the meantime, Carstanjen stated the corporate is one more enlargement of Derby Metropolis Gaming, which opened in September 2018. Solely two years later, the corporate added an outside patio with 225 further machines on the facility.
“It’s only a property that isn’t near maturity but,” Carstanjen stated.