The Ellis Park race track in Western Kentucky ushered in a new era Friday. The 90-year-old Henderson track rolled out instant racing to the public, becoming only the second track in the state to offer the games.
The clubhouse has been renovated to accomodate nearly 200 terminals resembling slot machines where players can bet on previously run horse races. Owner Ron Geary says it was important to launch the games by the Labor Day weekend.
"The last four days of our meet starting today, we're gonna have over 20,000 people here and we want to get as many people as possible to see the machines or play the machines because we think they're so much fun that a lot of people will come back throughout the year."
Geary has fought for several years to bring instant racing to Ellis Park as a way to help compete with neighboring tracks and casinos. The legality of instant racing is still tied up in court. Opponents claim the games do not constitute pari-mutuel wagering as allowed under state law.