RaceTech was the original racing company and became the first to offer Instant Racing Games at Oaklawn Park back in 2000. The Stronach Group made a deal to purchase 100 percent of RaceTech from owners the Cella family. The Stronach Group have now added the RaceTech holdings to their own historical racing outlet, PariMax, and have combined the two to form PariMax Holdings.
Historical racing games are like slot machines, but with pari-mutuel formula payouts calculated by previous run horse races. The Cella family founded RaceTech, which offered historical racing games, and AmTote International (a Stronach Group-owned tote company) aided in the development of the games and eventually took on the role of technology services provider.
AmTote International President Steve Keech said the purchase of RaceTech shows how committed The Stronach Group is to horse racing and that historical racing games provide additional content monetization opportunities.
“These opportunities continue to deliver additional income, which is reinvigorating racing operations where it has been deployed,” said Keech.
Oaklawn Park Vice-President Louis Cella said the creation and implementation of historical racing games helped turn the track around.
“It was a great run. When we launched Instant Racing, our goal was to save racing at Oaklawn Park and it did that,” said Cella. “We positioned ourselves that once we had a strong underpinning at Oaklawn to see if it could benefit tracks outside of Arkansas, and it did. It’s done a great job.”
Cella also espoused on how successful historical racing games continue to be.
“It’s doing exactly what it was designed to do: to bring pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing in an electronic format to help attract new fans,” said Cella. “You have to believe in the sport. That’s why it probably would not have worked at many other tracks besides Oaklawn. Our fans love the sport—we’ll have 10,000 people show up on a random Thursday. Our patron base is racing fans. They got it, they appreciated it, and it really took off.
“All of a sudden horsemen started coming to Oaklawn and saying, ‘Why are your purses going up when you don’t have slots?’ And on the other hand, they’d talk about going to tracks that did have slots but nobody was at the racetrack. The formula worked, it really worked.”