Aug 23, 2023

Batavia Downs considering historical horse racing machines

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is headquarters and the heart of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., the public benefit corporation owned collectively by 15 Western New York counties along with the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

Officials with Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. are interesting in adding new gaming machines at Batavia Downs that would allow bettors to wager on horse races that already happened.

The so-called historical horse track racing machines, while not yet legal in New York state, function like traditional slot machines with the outcomes of each game based on horse races that already happened instead of a random number generator.

An article on, refers to the machines as “instant racing,” noting that players bet on the outcome of horse races the same way they would at any Off Track Betting parlor or horse racing track.

“The difference is that you’re betting on actual past races,” the article notes. “In other words, you don’t have to wait around for the race to be run; it’s like hitting a fast-forward button for the result, which renders your bet a winner or loser.”

In explaining how the machines work, reported that a race is randomly selected after a bet is made from a video library of nearly 100,000 past races. No identifying information, such as where and when the race was won or which horses or jockeys participated, is made available. The machines feature a “handicapper” concept that provides players with skill graph from a “daily racing form” that shows important information like horse starting position and horse and jockey winning percentages. Once the game starts, the machine shows an animated display of the race on the screen with spinning wheels that described as “reminiscent of a slot.”

WROTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said the concept came as a possible revenue generator for OTBs while he was attending a recent gaming conference in Saratoga Springs. He said historical horse racing machines have proven successful at OTB locations in other states.

“It’s actually very popular,” he said.

State lawmakers would need to approve legislation to allow them to be used legally in New York.

Wojtaszek said the earliest such legislation could be considered by members of the New York State Legislature would be 2024 and WROTB intends to include a request for their approved use as part of its Albany legislative agenda next year.

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Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel