Churchill Downs sees the light

Churchill Downs announced today that it is putting permanent lighting at the track after its wildly successful night racing events this past summer.

Read the news account by Greg Hall of The Courier-Journal here.

It’s an expensive move for the track, but one that leadership was wise to make. Though the first night event was marred by understaffed concession stands and betting windows, the other two nights went smoothly and both were huge attendance events.

Sure, the track handle wasn’t what you would expect from crowds that large. It was more a night club atmosphere than a race track, in some places around the track. But people were there, they were enjoying the sport and enjoying themselves.

In the absence of of expanded gaming and additional revenue from it, turning to ventures like night racing is the smart thing to do.

In fact, Churchill might be well-served to go this route anyway. All sources of gambling revenue are down. For the first time ever, states faced a decline in casino and lottery revenue last year (see this New York Times story for a discussion of declining gambling revenues) and while I have argued for expanded gaming, if revenues are declining, then clearly states and venues like Churchill are going to have to look for other ways to make money.

This, for Churchill, is certainly one of them.

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13 thoughts on “Churchill Downs sees the light

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