Revolutionary Racing’s new Sandy’s Racing & Gaming facility in Kentucky is on pace to open sooner than previously anticipated.
Revolutionary Racing Vice President of Government Relations Conor Lucas spoke with Gaming Today Wednesday to give an update on how construction was going. In turn, he shared that the historical horse racing and sportsbook are on track to open this fall.
“We hope to be done with construction by September, start getting games in there, and hopefully open by the end of October,” Luas told Gaming Today.
The opening is several months earlier than Revolutionary Racing originally planned. The company moved the projected opening date because of the upcoming Kentucky sports betting launch.
Last October, the company announced plans to open a 660-yard sprint horse racing track in Ashland for quarter horse racing. Revolutionary Racing partnered with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on the $55 million project.
But that was October. In March, Gov. Andy Beshear signed HB 551 into law, which legalized retail and online sports betting in the Bluegrass State. Furthermore, the new facility was one of the 10 venues eligible for a retail sports betting license.
With sports betting on the horizon, the opening date moved from “sometime in 2024” to October 2023.
Construction ‘Going Great’ on the Revolutionary Racing Facility
On Wednesday, when Lucas spoke with Gaming Today, he shared that he was just in the facility that day.
According to him, construction is “going great.”
“We’re starting to hang drywall now,” he said. “Going to have about 100 guys here and there tomorrow doing work and starting the roof on Thursday.”
Revolutionary Racing Sportsbook on Pace to Open Around Same Time as Kentucky’s Industry
Kentucky doesn’t want to miss out on any NFL wagers. And that’s been a big point of emphasis from Beshear, who wants the industry to launch in the fall ahead of the upcoming football season.
Lucas noted that he’s unsure whether that means the first preseason NFL game, but he assumes the launch would be centered around the first regular season contest.
Should Kentucky launch its sports betting industry in September, before Sandy’s Racing & Gaming finishes construction, it will still offer online sports betting.
“We’ll be open online before our facility opens to take wagers on NFL games, and then obviously, the sportsbook will be open in October at the same time,” Lucas noted.
No Operator Partnership for Sandy’s Racing & Gaming Sportsbook … Yet
Lucas provided some insight into the sportsbook’s incoming partnership with an operator.
He noted that while he can’t share the specific name of the company they’re in talks with, things are heating up.
“(We’re in) long-form negotiations at this point, so we’re pretty far down the road,” he said. “We just need to hammer it out on the legal front.”
Sandy’s Racing & Gaming Location Could Help Secure Untapped Demographic
There really aren’t any plans for in-state competition near Sandy’s Racing & Gaming in Ashland. And in turn, Lucas hopes to capture fans looking for more options. As of now, Sandy’s Sportsbook would be the only retail sportsbook in eastern Kentucky.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to capture a customer that isn’t necessarily an HHR or slot customer,” he said. “Right now in the region, if you wanted to watch a game, Buffalo Wild Wings in Ironton, Ohio is really you’re option. (We’re) going to provide an opportunity for people locally to have somewhere to go and hang out, and also wager on the game and get a bite to eat, a drink, play some HHR, go to the track and wager on some horses.”
Additionally, Lucas said that he factors in the surrounding states.
That part of Kentucky borders Ohio and West Virginia, two states with their own live sports betting markets.
“It’s going to be a melting pot for HHR gaming but also sports wagering and people just coming to watch a game and hang out,” he said. “I think that will build a new sports betting player.”