Historical racing machines at Les Bois Park

Historical racing machines

BOISE -- New gambling machines are now in operation at Les Bois Park.

The machines were the source of some controversy as state lawmakers approved installing what are known as "historical horse racing" machines.

We weren't allowed to take our cameras in to the facility, but Les Bois provided us with video and allowed us to try out the machines to see how they work.

Some critics have said the machines are too similar to standard slot machines like you'd see in Las Vegas.

We found the screens do look similar to slot machines at first glance, but Les Bois points out there is a difference in that payout is also based on picking horses that ran in previous races, which players watch archive video of.

Players can choose to have the machine pick their horses, or pick their own.

'It's just wagering on races that have previously been run," said Frank Lamb, Executive Director of the Idaho State Horse Racing Commission. "There's a databank of over 30,000 races that can be chosen from. You have no idea what race is going to come up before you make your wager. You get some information about the past performances of the horses and jockeys and trainers in those races and then you make your decision, and then you hit start and watch part of the race."

The machine payouts are based on if the horses selected won that old race, and how much is bet.

Les Bois opened its machines June 1st and hopes they are the ticket to saving live racing.

Horse racing officials say this technology was developed in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and say historical racing saved that track.

Already, Les Bois says the machines are helping drive investments.

"If you've been to the races at all this year, you can see we've got a lot more horses, a better grade of horses, and that's because of the commitment that they have on the assumption that this new revenue is going to put us back in solid footing as far as racing goes. And we're looking forward to some bigger and better things," said Duayne Didericksen, General Manager, Les Bois.

In this type of gambling, players are betting against other players in Wyoming and Arkansas.

Of every dollar that is bet in these machines, the state gets one-and-a-half percent and more than 90 percent goes back to players.

Historical racing is open every day from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m.

Machines are for those 21 and older.


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