Pari-mutuel Wagering on Historical Races

On June 10, the Texas Racing Commission considered draft rules for the implementation of pari-mutuel wagering on historical races at licensed Texas racetracks.  Those rules will now be published in the Texas Register for a period of 30 days for the purpose of receiving public comment.

It is noteworthy that every horse organization involved in Texas racing, every licensed racetrack in Texas, as well as the Greyhound breeding industry support the proposed rules.

How is historical racing presented for wagering?

Wagers are made on a modified pari-mutuel terminal – not a “slot machine”.  Unlike a slot machine, the historical racing terminal does not pick the winner, and one does not “bet against the house”. Races displayed on the terminal are actual horse races previously run at licensed pari-mutuel racetracks, with official handicapping information and results. They are not computerized images of imaginary races or of horses in which a machine selects the winner and determines the outcome.

 As in live horse racing, a significant degree of skill or judgment is involved in picking the winning horses, and the outcome of a historical horse race depends on the skill and experience of the trainers, jockeys, and horses involved in that race.

A growing number of states, notably Kentucky and neighboring Arkansas, currently offer pari-mutuel wagering on historical races, where it has increased the fan base for live races, the size of purses, and revenues for the states and their racetracks.

Since Kentucky first allowed it in 2011, historical horse racing has seen about $636 million in wagers, with $5.7 million generated for purses.

Based on what has happened in other states, we anticipate an increase of 30 – 40% in purse levels at Texas tracks if implemented here.