Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ellis Park Might Ship Some Instant Racing Machines

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ellis Park Might Ship Some Instant Racing Machines

Article excerpt

HENDERSON, Ky. - Instant Racing apparently has not proven to be an instant success at Ellis Park. The Henderson track is seeking the state's permission to transfers more than one-fourth of its electronic wagering terminals to another Kentucky racetrack where the games appear to be far more successful.

Ellis installed 187 of the devices, which resemble slot machines, in August 2012, hoping they would generate additional year-round income and help it compete with Tropicana Evansville's riverboat casino a few miles away at Evansville. But 19 months later, Ellis Park has proposed to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that it transfer 50 of the terminals to Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky.

The machines at Ellis Park "are not being utilized to their potential," according to a Feb. 10 letter sent to the racing commission by Ellis Park Director of Operations Bob Jackson.

Kentucky Downs in September 2011 was the first track in the Kentucky to install the machines and - helped by its location along Interstate 65 between Bowling Green and Nashville - has had far more success with Instant Racing than Ellis.

Kentucky Downs' 390 machines grossed $291.2 million in 2013, more than 10 times the $27.7 million at Ellis, BloodHorse, a thoroughbred news website, reported earlier this week.

About 92 percent of the money wagered is returned to bettors. The remainder is divided several ways: To boost purse money for live races in Kentucky; the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund and other equine programs; a state pari-mutuel tax; and the host tracks.

Since starting live racing Aug. 31, 2012, Ellis Park has collected just over $2 million in revenue from Instant Racing, while Kentucky Downs' share has totaled $29 million since September 2011, BloodHorse reported earlier this week. How much Ellis Park cleared after the expenses of operating the machines wasn't reported.

Ellis Park has reached an agreement with Kentucky Downs to transfer 50 of its machines. …

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