Casinos and Arts & Entertainment, etc. and Horse Tracks and Gambling

Indiana Downs closing Evansville off-track site

April 13, 2012

An off-track, pari-mutuel betting parlor in Evansville is set to close as the central Indiana-based company that owns it remains in bankruptcy protection.

The off-track site owned by Indiana Downs of Shelbyville will be shut down June 10, television station WFIE reported.

Indiana Downs officials had complained about the off-track site not being exempted from the city's smoking ban ordinance at a time when it faces greater competition from Ellis Park horse track in nearby Henderson, Ky.

Indianapolis Downs LLC, which also owns the Indiana Live casino near Shelbyville and a Clarksville OTB, filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2011.

Evansville OTB patron Ron Reutter said he believed it had struggled against Ellis Park, partly because it can simulcast Kentucky races.

"The business has been down with Ellis opening up and they are supposed to get slot machines and they can get the Kentucky signal, and that's the biggest attraction for horse bettors around here," Reutter said.

Phone messages left by The Associated Press on Friday for Indiana Downs officials weren't immediately returned.

Evansville's smoking ban, which went effect April 1, exempts the Casino Aztar gambling floor, but applies to all bars and private clubs in the city, along with the Indiana Downs OTB.

The owner of central Indiana's other horse track and casino — Hoosier Park in Anderson — emerged from bankruptcy protection in October. Both operations have struggled since borrowing heavily to pay $250 million state licensing fees to add slot machines and other electronic games in 2008.

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