It appears Ellis Park’s new Instant Racing machines are a hit, and allowing the horse racing attraction to add more jobs. Empty seats, an empty track, but a full parking lot? It’s been two months since Ellis Park added several new attractions, and crowds are pouring in at a time when the building is usually empty.
“We actually opened the machines up Labor Day weekend which was our last weekend of the live meet. So, we had quite a few people here and then it was a little slow to take off but, most of that was because people are not used to us being open year round. So, now that words gotten out through our media and everything, we have got people here like this every day,” says Ellis Park Marketing Coordinator Melissa Gerike. “They love the changes we have done to the place, the food, and the bar,” says Ellis Park General Manager Joe Rudisill.
Ellis Park installed their new Instant Racing machines despite legal challenges by opponents. “The machines themselves, well they are a huge hit. They are a little bit different than slot machines, but they are pretty easy to catch onto,” says Gerike. Not only are all the new features a fun attraction for customers, but the addition has increased job opportunities in the area. Gerike says,”The amount of jobs that have come about from this has been incredible.” Rudisill adds, “We’ve added about eighty employees since we opened up this side, so trying to help the job market out a little bit.”
Caren Sellars has been coming to Ellis Park for years and says the machines are just what this area needs. “The atmosphere, the people, the transition, the decor. Me as being a designer, I’ve seen all of this just absolutely make it wonderful for Henderson, and the Tri-State. It’s wonderful,” says Sellars. Although the live horse races are over for the season fans of Ellis Park, like Sellars, are thrilled for the chance to enjoy the Henderson attraction year around. “You know, with everything the way it is, everybody stressed out, the economy, everyday life, stress, and things, you need a little bit of excitement. If you can come over here and spend a few ten, twenty dollars, then you’re doing really good. It’s all good. It’s just phenomenal. It’s great,” adds Sellars.
The park expects its new restaurant to open in about a month. Ellis park will also be open the first weekend of November for the Breeder’s Cup for the first time in years.