Regional
12:55 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Just in Time for Derby, Churchill Downs to Take Larger Cut of Wagers

Churchill Downs will host the 140th Kentucky Derby on May 3.
Churchill Downs will host the 140th Kentucky Derby on May 3.
Credit Kevin Willis

Before the horses sprint from the starting gates, the Kentucky Derby crowd will hand over millions of dollars in wagers. Gamblers lucky enough to pick the right colts will be getting a little less back.

Churchill Downs is taking a bigger cut of the money bettors place on its races. The decision comes after Kentucky lawmakers rejected the racing industry's latest effort to add slot machines to generate more cash to boost prize money for horse owners.

Churchill spokesman John Asher says without the bigger cut, the track would have had to reduce prize money for winners of spring races and some races would likely have been cut.

Kentucky touts itself as the world's horse capital. But some tracks are struggling to compete with tracks in states such as New York and Pennsylvania that use casino gambling to offer higher purses.