New gaming hall opens in Ky. for historical horse racing machines

The Mint Gaming Hall opened for the first time Wednesday, a day earlier than expected. It’s located just off Interstate 75 in Whitley County.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 11:51 AM EDT
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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A new gaming hall is open in southern Kentucky, which lets people bet on historical horse racing on slot-like machines.

The Mint Gaming Hall opened for the first time Wednesday, a day earlier than expected. It’s located just off Interstate 75 in Whitley County.

When you walk inside, it looks like a casino, with gaming devices that look like slot machines all over the place. General Manager Henry Graffeo says the machines let you wager on historical horse races.

These facilities are not new to Kentucky. There have been others in Franklin and at the Red Mile in Lexington. There was a legal challenge, but the General Assembly passed a law that cleared up some issues with how these games are played and what people are wagering on.

Graffeo says the games also benefit the state and the horse racing industry.

“Every dollar wagered on the machine is called “handle,” just like if it was handled at the race track. We pay parimutuel tax on those handles. It’s one to one and a half percent on the spin. So, that is the highest number which is the handle. Based on that we pay, an effective tax rate of about 32 percent,” said Graffeo.

Graffeo says future plans call for a restaurant and a hotel at Mint. He says thefacility has already added more than 100 jobs to the local economy.

A standardbred horse racing track and gaming hall is also under construction in Corbin and that facility is expected to open next year.