Andy Stronach, son of Magna Entertainment founder Frank Stronach, has left his father's racing conglomerate to focus on a new company that will manufacture a self-service pari-mutuel teller for novice bettors.
Stronach still serves on the Magna Entertainment board of directors, but no longer holds the title of vice president of corporate development. Actually, Stronach claims he was never truly an officer for the company.
"I've worked for Magna International automotive and still do," he said. "There was talk about it, but I never officially moved over (to Magna Entertainment)."
Stronach said he formed his company called Futuristic Entertainment four years ago. During that time, he's applied the experience gained working in Magna International manufacturing plants to design a slot machine-styled automated teller that he hopes will make betting on horse racing easier for novice fans. Stronach said he has just applied for patents and still needs approval from regulators.
"The machines will have touch-screens, and the same user interface as a slot machine, but they are pari-mutuel," Stronach said.
Futuristic Entertainment intends to make 11 different models of the new machines that will handle specific types of bets: one model handles only wins bets, another place bets, another win, place, and show, and another may offer only exacta wheels. The machine will display payoffs on each horse instead of odds, and the payoffs will be color-coded. Red may be the favorite and blue the second choice.
The machine's display is expected to show the horses entered in a race with each horse color-coded depending how much it will pay. A bettor can either pick a horse or use a "quick pick" feature with spinning reels that selects a horse or horses. The machines will handle wagers on a racetrack's live meet or any simulcast races the track offered, according to Stronach. He said the machines also would have Internet capabilities, provide handicapping services, and be able to handle streaming video.
"It makes a beginner into an expert," Stronach said.
While it seems logical that Futuristic Entertainment's new product would appear first at one of Magna Entertainment's eight racetracks, Stronach said that's not a given.
"This is a separate thing from Magna," he said. "I do feel it would be good for them to have them."
Stronach said he is developing his product with help from AmTote, which developed a slot machine-styled pari-mutuel game called Instant Racing in partnership with Oaklawn Park. Steve Molnar, a former executive of Youbet.com, is also reportedly working with Stronach as a consultant.