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Saratoga Casino Completes Acquisition of Ellis Park Racetrack in Kentucky

Casino News Daily
Saratoga Casino Completes Acquisition of Ellis Park Racetrack in Kentucky

Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group completed earlier this week the purchase of the Ellis Park thoroughbred racetrack, officials at the gaming and hospitality company have confirmed.

The racetrack and simulcast venue is located in Henderson, Kentucky, not far of the state’s border with Indiana. Ellis Park was established in 1922 and is one of Kentucky’s historic race course properties.

Saratoga Casino previously owned a 30% stake in the property and most recently purchased the remaining 70% stake for an undisclosed amount. The company bought its initial stake in Ellis Park in 2012 from local businessman Ron Geary. As he himself told local media outlets, Mr. Geary was encouraged by his family to sell his ownership in the racetrack and “slow down” a bit.

The businessman purchased the property in 2006. Commenting on the recent completion of the deal, Mr. Geary said that they have had “some great successes” with Ellis Park and that he was convinced Saratoga Casino would continue that progress.

The racetrack’s new owner said that there would be no management changes at the property for now. The group, which is a subsidiary of Saratoga Harness Racing Inc., sent executives at Ellis Park earlier this month to explore the potential areas where improvement would be needed and to craft a plan for the overall enhancement of patrons’ experience.

Sports Betting a Long Shot in Kentucky, For Now

While lawmakers gave the legalization of sports betting some thought in the weeks after a long-running ban on the provision of that type of gambling service was struck down by the US Supreme Court, it seems that Kentucky bettors would not be able to wager money on sports events this year.

A sports betting bill surfaced in the Kentucky Legislature in June, but it is set to be considered next year. It was only pre-filed and is set to be introduced officially in the Senate during the next legislative session. Generally speaking, the bill calls for the legalization and regulation of sports betting, allowing betting on professional and collegiate sporting events.

Under the proposed legislations, licensed operators will have to pay a $250,000 annual license fee and a 3% tax on handle (turnover). The bill does not include integrity fees, which all major US sports leagues have been lobbying for.

With the legislative piece being slated to be tabled for consideration during the Legislature’s next session, it is not likely that sports betting will get legalized before the first half of 2019. And according to industry analysts, it is not likely that Kentucky bettors would be able to place bets before early in 2020.

New Jersey was the first state to legalize and launch sports betting in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling. Four of the state’s nine operational casinos and the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherfort have already went live with sports books.

The post Saratoga Casino Completes Acquisition of Ellis Park Racetrack in Kentucky appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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