• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Horse Racing Commission Approves Cherokee Investment

ByChad J. Johnson

Nov 3, 2022

Nov. 2 – The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a decision Monday to allow the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Keeneland to take a minority stake in the quarter horse racetrack planned for Cannonsburg by 2024.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, through their private investment firm EBCI Holdings, will take a 48% stake in the venture, according to a project spokesperson. Keeneland, a Kentucky horse racing institution, will take a 1% stake in the company.

ELS Gaming, the company that owns Revolutionary Racing Kentucky, will retain 51% ownership.

As part of the terms of the investment, Revolutionary Racing will be required to submit a monthly report to the commission on track progress.

The commission also set the dates for quarter horse races from April 1-6, 2023, to be held at Red Mile.

The Cherokee have been in tribal gaming since the 1990s, operating two casinos on one reservation property. In 2020, the tribe formed an investment company to buy Caesar’s in southern Indiana across from Louisville for $280 million.

According to an article in Cherokee One Feather, a tribal newspaper, the company took over the casino in September 2021. Since taking ownership – while retaining the Caesar brand – the tribe has made $16 million in profits in a year.

Of this money, $4 million was collected directly by the tribe while $12 million was withheld by EBCI Holding for reinvestment in other businesses.

In December 2021, EBCI Holdings announced that it would launch a “gaming technology incubator”, which would mean an investment of $10-12 million for gambling startups.

In August 2022, EBCI Holdings partnered with Caesar’s for the opening of a $650 million casino in Danville, Virginia. The holding company has a 49.5% stake in this venture, according to One Feather.

On Friday, Chief Richard Sneed said the tribe was expanding beyond North Carolina and investing in out-of-state gaming to strengthen the tribe’s position ahead of the relaxation of gaming regulations. in the Tar Heel State and beyond.

The tribe already faces competition within the state, with the Catawaba Tribe of South Carolina establishing a casino outside Charlotte, thanks to an endorsement contained in a defense bill passed last year. .

The Catawaba were banned from gambling on tribal lands by South Carolina after agreeing to a settlement with the state for millions of dollars in the 1990s. Despite the objection of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Catawaba have attempted to apply for tribal land in North Carolina.

Although the Department of the Interior prevented until 2018 from being able to establish a casino, this changed in 2021 when the Bureau of Indian Affairs, North Carolina and the Catawaba entered into a pact for gambling.

The casino opened this year, but due to concerns over how much goes to the South Carolina tribe, reports show it is under investigation by federal regulators.

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