Instant Racing Machines

Instant Racing Machines

AP Photo

Instant Racing Starts at Ellis Park Aug. 31

Henderson track will become second in Kentucky to offer electronic form of gaming.

Instant Racing is set to expand in Kentucky Aug. 31 when 177 of the electronic machines will begin operation at Ellis Park in Henderson.

Introduction of the Instant Racing machines, technically referred to as historic racing in Kentucky, coincides with the conclusion of the 2012 live race meet over the Labor Day weekend. The machines located at one end of the track's main building will begin operations at 10 a.m. (CDT) and will be available from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. daily seven days a week. The track has the option to amend the hours of operations, depending upon customer demands.

"We've been working day and night for a month to complete the remodeling of a portion of the clubhouse and install the machines," track owner Ron Geary told The Gleaner.

Geary told the newspaper the track wanted to start Instant Racing over the holiday weekend to give track patrons the opportunity to see the alternative form of gaming.

Based on the outcome of previously run races, the Instant Racing machines closely resemble traditional slot machines. As the reels spin, a video of a horse race plays in a small window in a corner of the screen, with the race outcome determining whether the player wins or loses. The bettor does not know the outcome of the race being shown.

Initiated at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Instant Racing has proven a boon to Kentucky Downs, the first track in the state to begin offering the game, generating revenues for purses and other horse-related programs in the state as well as boosting the state's General Fund.

The legality of Instant Racing in Kentucky is being challenged in the courts, with some of the state's tracks awaiting the outcome of the litigation before proceeding with the electronic games.