More 'Instant Racing' Machines for Arkansas, Wyoming

Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel gaming system currently available at wagering outlets in Arkansas and Wyoming, will be expanded in those two states early this year.

In Arkansas, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis have secured an additional 80 units between the two locations. The two tracks launched Instant Racing, a video gaming system based on pari-mutuel wagering, in 2000.

Wyoming became the third state to approve Instant Racing last summer, and units were initially installed at Wyoming Downs' off-track betting facility in Evanston. An additional 70 terminals have been ordered for placement at Wyoming Downs and three other OTB facilities in Cheyenne, Evansville, and Rock Springs.

The Oregon Racing Commission approved the installation of the system in May of last year, but two tracks operated by Magna Entertainment Corp.--Portland Meadows and Multnomah Greyhound Park--pulled the plug on the machines late last year. The racing industry in general believes the machines were well-received and generated revenue for horsemen.

"Instant Racing continues to thrive, and we are thrilled with the latest news of expansion for the system," said Louis Cella, one of the principals in RaceTech, the company that developed the system.

Founded in 1999, RaceTech is a private group of racing industry representatives led by Oaklawn and AmTote. Instant Racing uses previously run races to determine the outcome of its games. Each generation of Instant Racing has increased play, according to RaceTech officials.

"Electronic gaming, in various forms, is contributing to purse structures at many of the race tracks around the country," Cella said. "It's the fastest growing segment of the nation's gaming industry. Legislation to limit most forms of electronic gaming exists in many states. However, Instant Racing does not require amendments to existing state laws or special legislation.

"It is pari-mutuel wagering. And it is allowing the racing industry to recapture revenues that have been lost over the years."

Oaklawn will handle a projected $70 million on its Instant Racing terminals this year, up 50% from the record handle established in 2003. Oaklawn's purse fund will get a boost of more than $1 million from the system this year.

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