'Historical Racing' Approved in Nebraska

Modeled after successful Instant Racing concept at Oaklawn Park and Kentucky Downs.

“Historical racing,” a form of electronic gaming based upon results of previously run horse races, has been approved by Nebraska lawmakers and sent to Gov. Dave Heineman.

The bill, which would allow machine bets on those previously run races, was cast by supporters as a job-saving measure and assailed by opponents as expanded gambling.

The measure won final approval April 5 by a 26-18 vote. The bill would allow machine bets at licensed Nebraska racetracks from a library of tens of thousands of races chosen at random. The screens do not identify the horses or say when or where the races took place.

Nebraska’s horse racing industry has struggled for years, and a critical lease for a track at State Fair Park in Lincoln is set to expire this year. Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh says he introduced the bill to help the industry.

Conceived and first introduced as Instant Racing at Oaklawn Park, the concept of allowing electronic wagering on the previously run races has proven popular at that Arkansas track and at Kentucky Downs.