Originally, a racino was a horse-racing venue where the patrons could also gamble on the horses. However, in this modern times, this now includes a wider range of casino games and other activities in addition to horse racing.

The term racino is a portmanteau describing a type of casino operating in the United States. A racino is a combination of two words: “racetrack” and “slot casino”, which are two defining features of this gambling establishment.

The modern use of this term, though, is much different from its original definition. Today's version of a racino refers to any state-run gambling establishment. It features both an off-track betting facility and at least one slot machine venue. The individual states allow these types of establishments due to their ability to provide more revenue for their respective state governments.

📌 History of Racino

Virginia, Kentucky, and Maryland began building tracks for horse racing in the 1800s. It is during this time that the wagering on horse racing started. Horse tracks offer clients opportunities to bet according to the result of the race which was known as pari-mutuel betting.

In 1865, a wagering method by a Frenchman where the total prize winners have equal shares after deducting all the expenses spent by the management. And this was introduced in New York in 1871. However, horse wagering became standard in 1908 in Kentucky Derby. And this became legal and popular in 42 states in the U.S. From then on, there was more expansion of OTB.

Through simulcast racing, OTB operators allow the consumers to wager on different races by making it more accessible for them. The inter-track wagering (ITW) is the second expansion that provides more wagering opportunities to the consumers.

In 1970, the state legislature passed a bill allowing for the construction of racetracks with pari-mutuel betting on horse racing and became legal in New York. This would prove to be a lucrative venture. From then on, many states followed suits in the legalizing of horse race wagering.

📌 Racino in the United States

Britain was ahead of the U.S. in legalizing wagering outside the track. In the 1950s, horse racing became more popular. It became apparent to those who have been involved in the industry the need to standardize the racing rules and regulations.

This led to the formation of what would later become known as The Jockey Club. This group is responsible for determining uniform standards and procedures used by all thoroughbred racetracks and off-track betting facilities. In the early part of 1960, began regulating and legalizing cash-off wagering. In 1963, off-track in-betting was legal in Great Britain.

A racino is a slots-based gambling facility that features both video lottery terminals (VLTs) and lives- horse racing. The success of complementing casino/slots style with the horse racing industry was in Dover Downs in Delaware. It is in this facility that the casino slots and horse race betting began. Followed by Charles Town Races in the state of West Virginia.

The first racino in the United States began operating in 2003. Allowing tracks to offer slot machines while maintaining their live racing schedules. Racinos became an important source of additional income for horse breeders and owners.

📌 Impact of Racinos on the U.S. Economy

There was an increase in the competition in different states in the United States. The continues innovation of this type of gambling made wagering easier for the customers. Gambling became more convenient and accessible to people who were not able to go to racetracks because of distance.

Racinos started as an experiment. But they’ve proven themselves valuable for states and communities looking for another source of revenue outside standard taxes or bonds. American Gaming Association reported that the racino industry provides benefits to the economy of many states. These benefits are increase in revenue and in employment rate.

Like in Texas, in 2007 the expansion of racinos increased from 36 to 42 that providing the state billion dollars of revenues. The full implementation of racino gaming had a great impact fiscal om the State of Texas. This increase in revenues, taxes, and employment was also seen in Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida as the states allowed more expansion of racinos.


In what states are racinos legal?

Racino are licensed to operate in the following U.S. states: West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Maine, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York.

How to know that a racino is legal?

There are trustworthy websites offering reliable information about racinos operating in different states. You can easily check it online.

Do racino slots pay better than casino slots?

It is just almost the same with other casino slots where results are determined based on the classification of the slot machines.

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