Instant Racing Handle Nears $100M Mark

RaceTech, the company behind Instant Racing, expects to top the $100-million mark in total handle sometime this year. Instant Racing--basically pari-mutuel video lottery terminals--went online early in 2000 at Oaklawn Park and Southland Greyhound Park in Arkansas.

Handle in 2004 is up 50% from last year, officials said. Oaklawn projects July will be the first $6-million month for Instant Racing.

"It just continues to grow and grow, and the growth is not just limited to Oaklawn," said Louis Cella, son of Oaklawn owner Charles Cella and a principal in RaceTech. "Although Oaklawn is breaking records on a regular basis, all of our facilities are experiencing a similar explosion in popularity."

Revenue from the devices contributed $1 million to the Oaklawn purse account this year. Oaklawn had its first $5-million month in handle on Instant Racing in February, and has consistently exceeded that figure since that time.

The Instant Racing system also is available in Wyoming at Wyoming Downs' off-track betting facility in Evanston, and at three other OTB facilities in Cheyenne, Evansville, and Rock Springs.

Instant Racing machines look like VLTs but the outcome of the games is tied to the results of recycled horse races. A percentage of the revenue goes to purses and to racetracks that provide races.