Sandy’s Racing & Gaming Hopes To Attract Kentucky, Ohio, WV Gamblers

Written By Dan Holmes on July 18, 2023 - Last Updated on July 21, 2023
Sandy's draws from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia

Ashland is a small Kentucky city. But it sits right at the intersection of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

So the owners of Ashland’s soon-to-be-completed gaming facility, Sandy’s Racing & Gaming, hope to shed any inkling of a small-town casino label and attract a large swath of gamblers from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

“This project has broke down the barriers across state lines,” said John Marshall, President and COO of Revolutionary Racing, which owns Sandy’s, in an exclusive interview with PlayKentucky. “All three — Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia — have stepped up to make this possible. We are going to have the most modern and sophisticated (historical horse racing) gaming facility in the country when we open this fall, and everyone will benefit.”

There will be 672 HHR gaming machines at Sandy’s

In addition to opening one of the many retail Kentucky sportsbooks that will launch this fall, Sandy’s will also 672 slot-like gaming devices, utilizing HHR technology. HHR is a form of randomly assigning winners for the slot-style machines based on results of previous horse races. It’s the only legal option for gambling on slot machine-style devices in Kentucky.

Sandy’s is currently under final stages of construction in a former shopping mall in Ashland, where it will become a 70,000-square-foot venue with 40,000 square feet hosting casino-style games. The management team promises Sandy’s will be the largest gaming facility of its type in the US, in terms of square footage.

By number of HHR machines, Sandy’s will be the sixth-largest in Kentucky.

This project couldn’t happen without the efforts of legislators and political leaders in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio, which lie at the crux of Ashland and the new destination.

“(The response has been) overwhelmingly positive,” Marshall told PlayKentucky.

This is a $75 million project

The project is a joint venture between Revolutionary Racing, ELS Gaming and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

According to Marshall, $75 million will be spent on this project: $50 million on the gaming facility, and $25 million on the racetrack. That project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2025 to host races that season.

The HHR facility and sportsbook will open in October. And Sandy’s expects to announce its partner for sports betting soon.

“We are hoping to be open for Halloween,” Marshall said. “Our main competition is Mardi Gras (Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes, WV) near Charleston. We don’t consider us going toe to toe with Class 3 facilities. We are putting a lot of effort into HHR titles.

“We’ll have the titles and games people are used to playing (at) casinos in Ohio and West Virginia, but in a new experience.”

Ohio, West Virginia gamblers at Sandy’s

Because Ashland rests on the banks of the Ohio River on the far eastern edge of Kentucky, it lies in an ideal position to draw customers from across state lines. A short drive across the river and one can be in either Ohio or West Virginia. Cincinnati is only 135 miles away, and Charleston, WV, is only 65 miles away.

Marshall expects Sandy’s will be a drivable destination for many in those two neighboring states.

“When you think commercially, the state lines don’t exist,” Marshall said. “Everyone wants to come to Sandy’s.”

Photo by PlayKentucky
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a staff writer for PlayKentucky with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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