What are ‘Racinos’?
Racinos are establishments which combine a race track with a casino. In most cases, racinos offer only a limited number of gambling options – such as slot machines – but in some American states, racinos have begun to introduce table games including poker, roulette and blackjack.
The first racino was opened in Pennsylvania in 2006, when the MTR Gaming Group was granted permission to introduce video lottery terminals, also known as “VLTs”, to their race track, which is now known as the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort. Over the next seven years, nine further US states legalised racinos, with many race tracks or casinos taking advantage of the chance to boost their profits by combining both horse racing and traditional casino gambling.
In the case of the Mountaineer Park in West Virginia, combining casino games with an original race track has taken the establishment from a struggling business to one of the most profitable race tracks in the country. As traditional race tracks face steady decline, those that have chosen to combine both racing and casino elements to become racinos have seen a steady increase in their profits.
Racinos are often large complexes, which not only include race tracks and video lottery terminal gambling options, but also offer visitors a range of other entertainment and hotel elements. One example of this is at the Hollywood Racino in Maine, which features the Bango Raceway, over 150 luxury rooms in a seven-story hotel, restaurants, 14 table games and over 1,000 slot machines. These types of racino complexes have proved to be extremely popular alternatives to traditional race tracks and casinos, causing a decline in profits for the older and more established venues.
In 2016, the main factor in the decline of profit for traditional casinos in Ohio was the growing popularity of racinos, which offer gamers a greater choice and convenience.