Racing in the Past - Betting in the Present

In some US states a new way of gambling has been introduced

A significant number of punters are going for an innovative way of generating wagering action that is emerging in several US states. This newly introduced practice not only makes more money for the tracks, increasing prize purses and state tax contributions, but gives punters something to do between races.

The concept of dubbed 'historical' or 'instant' horseracing is to offer punters wagers on randomly selected televised races from the past, giving edited invalid data to make it impossible to identify the particular race in advance. Once the bettor has put a bet on machines provided at racetracks, he can opt for watching the race play out in full or in part.

It's proving to be a successful business - Kentucky racecourse owners already reporting $15 million in bets last month, and the Kentucky Downs course is confident that the 'instant' machines will bring in some $150 million this year.

Nevertheless, a certain political and legal resistance from Kentucky conservative anti-gambling groups is emerging as well, with test cases in progress that involve questions of constitutionality.

A political dispute in Nebraska arose over the governor's veto of a bill on intrastate 'instant' wagering on video machines at racetracks passed by the state Legislature, which the governor exercised on constitutional grounds claiming that the bill would have expanded gambling beyond what is allowed by the state constitution.

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