Kentucky Off-Track Betting, LLC (KOTB) announced Thursday that it will close its facilities located in Corbin, Jamestown and Maysville in June after completion of the 2013 Triple Crown Series.
“Closing our OTB’s won’t be easy and it has not been a decision our owners have taken lightly,” said KOTB General Manager Laura Prewitt. “We’ve built relationships with both our employees and our communities, and we fully understand the impact this will have on them. However, the bottom line is that it is not profitable and does not make economic sense to keep operations going,” she added.
KOTB was formed by Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Keeneland and Turfway Park in 1993. The main impetus behind the partnership was to generate handle dollars, which would in turn help build Kentucky’s purse structure. In the past 10 years, KOTB has generated an average of $1.4 million per year dedicated to Kentucky Thoroughbred purses. Additionally, KOTB also gives back .75% of every dollar handled to the city where a facility is located and each county receives .25%.
Economic factors, along with the decline in overall handle at the outlets have forced the decision. Ten years ago, a total of $25.7 million was being wagered at the outlets compared to $10 million in 2012.
“We have stayed open at the expense of the owners, because of our commitment to our faithful patron base and to help add to purses,” said Prewitt
KOTB’s first outlet opened in April of 1993 in Corbin. Initially located in the Holiday Inn, the operations were moved into a freestanding building in 1999. Ideally located off Interstate 75 South, this facility played host to a large number of patrons from Tennessee.
An OTB in Jamestown was opened in July of 1993 and is located close to Lake Cumberland State Park.
The third OTB opened in Maysville in August of 1993. Situated in a historic building on Second Street, the facility contributed to the downtown area’s revitalization.
The final OTB was built in Pineville in 1996 before being closed in June 2010 due to decrease in simulcast handle.
“It is imperative that we look critically at our industry and business models to find ways to grow the sport and it would be irresponsible to continue ventures that are not profitable,” stated Prewitt.
Approximately 20 full and part time employees will be affected by the closings. Prewitt said that KOTB will offer employees outplacement assistance.