Keg and Cork (Amundsen Associates) (307 Horse Racing)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County Commission approved a request by 307 Horse Racing to install 50-70 machines for betting on live and historic horse races at the Keg & Cork, a property the company is set to buy. 

Kyle Ridgeway, chief operating officer for Wyoming Financial Group, told the commission at its regular meeting Tuesday that the group is looking to replicate the success of the 307 Derby Room as an entertainment venue and events space.

Current Keg & Cork co-owner Matt Galloway will remain in the management position, and restaurant and employees will be retained. Galloway told the commission that the full-time staff, including line cooks, will receive benefits and 401(k) plans. 

“It is a very, very rare occasion that you can offer benefits to these individuals,” Galloway said. “It’s tough to pay them what they’re truly worth, especially in an industry where food costs are exceeding 75% currently.”

Galloway and Ridgeway added that offering pari-mutuel wagering at Keg & Cork is key to keeping it economically viable as inflation drives up food costs. Ridgeway added that the pending asset and real estate purchase agreements with the Galloways effectively rested on the commission’s approval of the betting machines.

The Keg & Cork would have about the same number of machines as the Derby Room, and together they would generate about $400,000–$500,000 annually for Natrona County, Ridgeway said. Counties and cities that host gambling split 1% of the total amount wagered on the events.

Commissioner Jim Milne asked if there was any indication that the betting market was “saturated,” meaning that the number of machines had satisfied normal demand.

Ridgeway said there was no indication that the Derby Club had saturated the market, as most of its clientele was new to betting and attracted to the club’s unique offerings as a restaurant, entertainment venue and events space.

The proposal to install the betting machines must still meet with the approval of the Wyoming Gaming Commission.

307 Horse Racing will use the currently inactive liquor license it acquired from a tenant of the now-demolished Commissary Mall at the Keg and Cork, Ridgeway said. Galloway said there are plans in place to sell Keg and Cork’s existing liquor license to another business owner with a unique plan on Casper’s east side.