Massachusetts horse racing officials expressed concern that a virtual horse racing game, which has been proposed by the state lottery, could draw bettors away from live and simulcast racing in a state with an already fragile Thoroughbred industry.
The 12-horse animated racing game, presented on Keno-style monitors, is scheduled to debut this year in bars and restaurants throughout the state, the Boston Globe reports. Bob OMalley, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, said that he was did not know if racing fans would find a virtual horse race as thrilling as the real thing. He said that there is no doubt, however, that the lottery wants to snatch every gambling dollar available.
The Massachusetts Lottery is offering the game and expects revenues from it to bring in about $150-million during the first year.
"The lottery has become a devastating competitor," OMalley said. "Theyre involved in a different product every month. As they push $5-billion to $6-billion per year in sales, theres not much left for anyone else."
The company that won the three-year contract to provide software for the game owns a subsidiary with ties to the horse racing industry. Scientific Games Corp.s subsidiary Scientific Games Racing is one of the three major totalizator system providers in North America.