Portland Meadows plans to install Instant Racing machines during its current 2006-07 meet under a plan recently approved by the Oregon Racing Commission.
Instant Racing machines, which resemble video lottery terminals but are pari-mutuel in nature because the outcome of games is based on recycled horse and dog races, were used at Portland Meadows in 2003 on a limited basis. Track operator Magna Entertainment Corp. pulled the plug, however, as Instant Racing creator RaceTech planned to add more machines.
"We are very pleased to be able to provide our patrons with the latest technology in electronic pari-mutuel wagering on horse races," Portland Meadows general manager Dwayne Yuzik said in a release. "We will start our Instant Racing operations with 50 pari-mutuel wagering units. The installation of the Instant Racing system presents us with a marvelous opportunity for growth and success while we also celebrate our 60th year in racing."
Instant Racing was launched in 1999 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Ark. Members of Oaklawn's ownership and management team are principals in RaceTech.
"Electronic gaming is the fastest growing segment of the nation's gaming industry," said Louis Cella, one of the principals of RaceTech. "Our company developed Instant Racing so that racetracks could offer pari-mutuel wagering on horse races using an electronic product under existing laws and regulations, thereby attracting new audiences and remaining competitive in the ever-growing gaming industry."
Oaklawn has found success with Instant Racing, and gradually has added more machines. The track will offer record average daily purses of almost $300,000 when its meet begins in January 2007. Oaklawn also plans to add "electronic games of skill" after local voters approved of the plan and the state adopted regulations for operation of the devices.
"The success of Instant Racing contributes greatly to the success of our racing product at Oaklawn," Cella said. "We are confident that the growth in purses and tax revenues that Oaklawn Park experienced after introducing Instant Racing will also be experienced by Portland Meadows. Instant Racing will be a big step toward restoring Oregon horse racing and the Oregon horse industry to the golden years of past."