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Derby City Gaming Review - Pre-Grand Opening

Discussion in 'Non Vegas Trip Reports' started by Funkhouser, Sep 13, 2018 at 9:46 AM.

  1. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    Got a Facebook alert that Churchill Downs new "instant racing" machine parlor was having their soft opening.
    Went over this morning to check the place out.

    For those that don't know, the state of Kentucky does not allow casino style gambling. You have horse racing, bingo, KY lottery games, and charitable gaming. If you want slots, table games, etc you have to cross the river to Caesars Horseshoe Southern Indiana approximately 30 minutes or one of the other former Indiana Riverboats.

    Derby City Gaming is located just south of downtown Louisville near the airport in an industrial park area. It's on the site of the old Louisville Trackside training facility or what used to be the old off track betting parlor. They demolished the old building to build a state of the art facility.

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    The gaming floor is approximately 85,000 square feet with around 900 instant racing terminals (aka slot machines) all Ainsworth class 2 gaming devices (based on historical racing) and whose outcome is based on pari-mutual pools. For all purposes these work like slots, but the RNG is the race selection. Your playing against other players and the outcome is based on a 10 race wager per spin.

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    The facility is non smoking, but they do have a smoking parlor. Two counter style restaurants are available. A beautiful bar with horse racing on TVs, and also a little off track wagering area called the simulcast room (ha)

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    The main entrance is pretty nice and the place is loaded with horse racing memorabilia.

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    Wagering is class 2 games since it is technically base on pari-mutual horse races, works like this.

    1) Pick a machine denomination
    2) Pick horses for each bet or let the machine pick
    3) 10 races are selected with .10 of each dollar going toward a special pari-mutual pool for bonus or progressive payouts.
    4) Race results are shown in background on top of screen.
    5) You can manually pick horses, but its a pain in the ass and unlikely you can pick selections for 10 races in 100 seconds.

    Odds seem similar to what you get at other casinos, my return was slightly better than local casino. However in this case, denomination does not effect payback. So odds stay the same across machine denomination.

    Pari-mutual waging taxation is in effect, so you can be registering hand pays for $600 or more or 300 x wager return. I asked one of the slot floor people about this, but got a kinda jumbled answer.

    The players club has 4 levels. Based on color and they are currently doing tier matching for player club benefits. Green is the lowest level and then it goes up, Gold, Purple, and Black being the top level.
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    Points are earned at level of $5 wagered = 1 point. Benefits are yet to be seen.
    (Players Club Photo). You must earn levels in 6 month period

    My overall impression was this is a great facility, great service, and all new machines. I finished up for 2 hour session. Winning around $500, with some good bonus hits on Eagle Bucks at Quarter Level.

    If I were Caesars I would be worried, because this place is way nicer, closer for people in Louisville and you can tell all the staff cares about giving good service.

    Alcohol is very reasonably priced. Well brands were $4 a drink with premium like Ciroc at $8 a cocktail. Beers were in the $3 to $5 range. They had some craft bears on tap and quite a few premium bottle beer. Great selection of bourbons as well.

    Overall I give it a 9 out of 10 rating. Anxiously awaiting to see what offers I get in the mail.
     
    #1 Funkhouser, Sep 13, 2018 at 9:46 AM
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018 at 3:17 AM
  2. Wanker751

    Wanker751 Palladium
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    Thank for this. The facility is magnificent looking with all the horse racing stuff around.

    Those bathroom stall doors melt me heart! Love them.
     
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  3. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    Pretty nice place. Besides all the suits running around, I got to talk to some people on the floor. Cocktail waitresses were all attractive, nice uniforms and very friendly. I met a guy from Aristocrat who was running around, the player tracking system is Oasis. I also saw a couple of Ainsworth people on the floor.

    Of course the marketing and floor personnel were pretty mum on player benefits and talked up the whole "its going to help horse racing purses" line. They were not openly sharing any info about the hold rate or taxation. So obviously they are concerned about that from a competitive viewpoint.
     
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  4. aprilroncincy

    aprilroncincy Platinum

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    Do you like this place better than Kentucky Downs? Went there once and we were bored by the end. No name games with very low wins.
     
  5. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    I think when Kentucky Downs opened it was first generation instant racing terminals. Derby City was smart to take an established slot manufacturer who already was doing Class II slots and adapt them to a parimutuel model. Ainsworth has a pretty big slot title library. These games look and behave just like normal Ainsworth slots, except they have 10 horse races running on the top of the slot at each button push. The new games they have are pretty fun to play. They don't call them slots because slots are illegal in KY. Basically they are exploiting a technology loop hole to stand up these instant racing machine parlors.

    As for win amounts, it depends on the wager. I was betting between 1.20 to $4.00 a spin and getting some decent line hits on some games. Obviously not all titles adapt well the pari-mutual model from Ainsworth library. The Pac Man slot hits were pretty low. I did hit a couple of small progressives on a Vegas themed slot.

    Once I bumped up to quarter level on Eagle Bucks I started making some decent hits. So overall it felt like the return was reasonable at my bet level. That being said I saw some of the .30 to .90 betters playing penny denominations not hitting anything. My feeling is on penny denomination the return is lower unless your playing in a progressive pool.
     
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  6. aprilroncincy

    aprilroncincy Platinum

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    Thank you! We are definitely intrigued and might check it out.
     
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