Racinos in the USA

First of all, what is a racino? This term is rather new in the history of gambling. It basically refers to an establishment that combines a race track with a casino. Why? Because people who love sports betting tend to play casino games quite often. After all, sports betting is just another form of gambling.

There are two main types of race bettors: those who bet online and those who want to be right at the tracks where the action takes place.

The beginnings

Anyway, what games should you expect to find in a racino? Most of them are limited to slot machines, but there is a trend to introduce table games like poker, blackjack and roulette. In 1990, West Virginia was the first to accept racinos when the MTR Gaming Group obtained a permit to bring video lottery terminals (slot machines) in their race track establishment.

This move was most likely made in an attempt to resurrect a struggling business. Online betting took over this sector and there are less and less people interested in actually going to the race tracks. The introduction of slot machines turned that particular race track in one of the most profitable in the country.

It’s no surprise this happened considering the similarities between gaming and horse/greyhound racing. In some places, there are more customers in the actual casinos than at the race tracks, thanks to the simplicity of video lottery machines and the popularity of classic card games. Still, since the implementation of racinos, there have been increases in horse track wagering in the states that allow them.

States that have racinos

That moment was the turning point that lead to the making of specific legislation. Four years later, Iowa followed in West Virginia’s footsteps and authorized slot machines at the Iowa Horse and Greyhound Race Tracks. Iowa soon became the fastest growing breeding state due to the success of racinos.

At the moment, these establishments are allowed in the following states:

  • West Virginia
  • Iowa
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana
  • Delaware
  • New Mexico
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

There aren’t hundreds of choices, but each of the above states has some decent racinos. Indiana, Kentucky and Texas, among others, are also considering passing regulations that allow casino games at race tracks.