Instant Racing--pari-mutuel wagering machines that closely resemble video lottery terminals--had its first $1-million day in handle Feb. 21 at Oaklawn Park. Instant Racing, a product of RaceTech, first began operating at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack in 2000.
Total Instant Racing handle was $1,012,483 on a day when Oaklawn reported on-track attendance of 33,310. President's Day traditionally attracts one of the largest crowds of the season.
Oaklawn general manager Eric Jackson said that for the year, Instant Racing handle is up 151% from the corresponding period in 2004. Through Feb. 21, the devices have handled $19,568,126, up from $7,792,237.
The machines employ recycled pari-mutuel races that determine an outcome tied to video lottery games. A percentage of the revenue from Instant Racing supports purses at Oaklawn.
"We are excited about what this does for our racing product," Jackson said. "We are building purses for live racing, and later (in the week of Feb. 21) racing staff will be meeting to determine how best to use the additional purse money that Instant Racing is generating for the remainder of the 2005 season."
On Feb. 23, Oaklawn announced purses would increase $500-$1,000 per race. Field size thus far at the meet has averaged 9.7 horses per race.
Jackson said the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has requested tax money from Instant Racing be remitted daily instead of monthly because of the level of play. The devices are expected to produce about $1.5 million in tax revenue for the state this year.
Meanwhile, through 18 racing programs, Oaklawn reported 10% increases in live and simulcast handle.
Instant Racing is also available at Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Ark., and at pari-mutuel facilities in Wyoming.