The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission March 23 approved plans by Kentucky Downs to change the brand of its historical racing machines.
In April Kentucky Downs plans to change its current historical racing machines, currently the Cella family's Instant Racing games, to a new player in the market called Encore Gaming. In a February release, Encore chief executive officer Ray Reid said the Florida-based company plans "to provide the racing industry with a cutting-edge product that appeals to both electronic game players and handicappers, attracts new customers, and finally allows historical horse racing to fulfill its enormous potential."
The Cella family, which owns Oaklawn Park, launched Instant Racing at the Arkansas track. In Kentucky, Instant Racing currently is featured at Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park. Historical racing games have the look of video lottery terminals but have been allowed to operate in Kentucky because payouts are determined through a pari-mutuel formula.
Louis Cella attended the March 23 KHRC meeting. He said he didn't know the reason Kentucky Downs was opting to move to a new company, and noted that Kentucky recently surpassed $1 billion in Instant Racing wagering.
He said Kentucky Downs had wanted a month-to-month contract while Instant Racing prefers longer agreements, but he wasn't sure if that was the reason for the change.
Cella noted that there are many patents in place on Instant Racing, and that the partnership called RaceTech will review the new product when it is offered at Kentucky Downs by Encore.
Ellis Park owner Ron Geary also attended the March 23 meeting. He said Ellis Park currently has a good relationship with the providers of Instant Racing, but he is interested to see what Encore has to offer. He said competition is always good.
Kentucky Downs also was approved to increase the number of historical racing machines from 390 to 500 when Encore installs the machines in April.