Instant Racing, which combines pari-mutuel wagering with video gaming technology, had its best month ever at Oaklawn Park when patrons poured $5.82 million through the machines in February.
Instant Racing debuted in Arkansas in 2000. The previous one-month record of $4.43 million was set in August 2003.
"The previous one-month record was accomplished in 31 days of operation," said Bobby Geiger, director of mutuels and simulcasting at Oaklawn. "The new single-month record was established with just 25 days of operation. We're pleased with the handle, and we're looking forward to completing an expansion project before the end of March."
The project will increase the capacity of the Instant Racing room on the first floor of the grandstand by 33%. The number of machines will increase to 200.
Oaklawn officials believe the $6-million mark in handle could fall by April 1 with a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle giveaway slated for April 3. Players earn one entry each day they play with their Instant Racing Winner's Circle card. In February, 1,000 new players signed up for the program.
"Many of these folks are new to racing and are drawn by the electronic packaging of the sport," Geiger said.
Instant Racing is a product of RaceTech, which includes AmTote and Oaklawn. The system uses recycled horse races to determine the outcome of various games that resemble those used in video lottery terminals and slot machines. It operates as a pari-mutuel system and returns revenue to tracks that provide the old races.