Ellis Park in Henderson on Thursday announced that it is switching its form of electronic gambling from the Instant Racing games to Exacta Systems.
The Instant Racing games were approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for Ellis Park in 2011; the games were owned by RaceTech, which was purchased by The Stronach Group’s PariMax in July.
The Exacta Systems games, formerly known as Encore Gaming, are the same type used by Kentucky Downs in Franklin since spring 2015.
Ellis Park’s new games were approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff apparently without a vote by the commission because the games already were approved for Kentucky Downs.
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Ellis Park will close on Jan. 3 and reopen Jan. 6 with 179 new historical horse racing terminals, according to a news release. The existing games had a much lower average daily handle per machine than betting on Exacta games at Kentucky Downs.
In September, Kentucky Downs had an average daily handle of more than $1.4 million, with an average daily handle per machine of almost $2,250. At Ellis Park, the average daily handle was $227,662, with an average daily handle per day of $1,551, according to the racing commission.
“We are excited to offer our customers what, in our opinion, is the best historic horse racing product on the market,” said Ron Geary, president of Ellis Park, in a statement. “Based on their performance at Kentucky Downs and in Wyoming, we are confident that switching to Exacta will allow us to grow and maximize our historic horse racing business, which will in turn allow us to increase purses for our live racing meet.”
In Wyoming, PariMax has sued Exacta Systems, claiming that the games are not pari-mutuel; Exacta has filed a motion to dismiss. In Kentucky, the Family Foundation, a conservative group that opposes historical horse racing, has argued that both companies are not pari-mutuel. The Kentucky case is pending before Franklin Circuit Court.