Indiana Downs Seeks Betting Parlor Near Churchill

Officials in Clark County, Ind., have scheduled a hearing May 12 to discuss a request by Indiana Downs to operate a satellite wagering facility in Jeffersonville or Clarksville. The OTB parlor would be located just across the Ohio River from Churchill Downs and its Trackside OTB in Louisville, Ky.

"We are convinced now more than ever that Clark County will be an excellent site for another satellite wagering facility," Gil Short, president of business development for Indiana Downs, said in a prepared statement. "There's a population of approximately 180,000 in this region and great interest in horse racing. And its proximity to Interstate-65 is of great importance to a business of this type."

Short said the OTB parlor would create 100 jobs with pay of up to $15 per hour, hundreds of daily patrons, and revenue of about $100,000 for local government the first year of operation.

In a release, Indiana Downs said Frank Zerr, the mayor of Shelbyville Ind., where the track is located, spoke in favor of the plans for the OTB parlor. Racetrack officials said the Clark County Farm Bureau also supports the proposal. Zerr will lead a delegation of Shelby County officials at the May 12 meeting.

Short said if local government approves the request, Indiana Downs would begin negotiating in earnest on appropriate properties for the satellite wagering facility. Indiana Horse Racing Commission approval would be needed before construction could begin.

Currently, the Louisville market is without noon-to-midnight simulcasting seven days a week. When Churchill Downs is open for live racing, all simulcasting is held at the facility on live racing days only, and evening signals aren't offered. When Trackside OTB is open, it operates at night only two or three times a week, and usually is dark at least one day a week.

Indiana Downs most likely would have its OTB parlor open every day and night throughout the year.

Churchill Downs, as part of its master plan, will build a simulcasting facility in its clubhouse as part of the second phase of the $121-million project. It will have all the amenities of an OTB parlor, Churchill president Steve Sexton said.