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What is a racino and what to expect when I visit ?

Updated on August 14, 2017

What IS a Racino ?

A racino is a combination of a racetrack and a machine gaming facility. Most are limited to slot machines and electronic gaming only, although some do have table games as well. The horse racing industry has been in a decline for many years, especially standardbreds (harness racing/trotters). The addition of machine gambling attracts new people to the complex that perhaps have never been to a horse race before. Higher attendance and additional revenue allows the tracks to offer higher purses and better facilities to the horse owners, thus bringing in higher quality racing, which brings more media attention and larger crowds to the racino. It attracts both the fans of the races and the casino to the same area, giving fans the opportunity to try their luck at two separate entities.

Scioto Downs Racino in Columbus, OH
Scioto Downs Racino in Columbus, OH

Popular Racino Locations

Canterbury Park Racetrack & Card Club (952) 445-7223 Shakopee , MN

Delaware Park Racetrack & Slots (302) 994-2521 Wilmington , DE

Dover Downs (302) 674-4600 Dover , DE

Evangeline Downs Casino (866) 472-2466 Opelousas , LA

Finger Lakes Racetrack (585) 924-3232 Farmington , NY

Hoosier Park at Anderson (765) 642-7223 Anderson , IN

Mountaineer Racetrack & Gaming Resort (304) 387-8300 Chester , WV

Scioto Downs Racino 877-6SCIOTO(72-4686) or 614-295-4700 Columbus, OH

Thistledown (216) 662-8600 Cleveland,OH


Have you ever been to a racino ?

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Features of a Racino

1. Racing - Watching a horse race can be very thrilling, especially when you have a few dollars invested. You can cheer for your horse and feel your pulse racing as they near the finish line, begging and pleading for that last burst of energy that bring the horse to the winner's circle. You also can bet on races from other tracks, including The Kentucky Derby and The Little Brown Jug !

2. Slots/Electronic games - The racinos have most of the same slot machines that you will find in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The minimum bets are generally higher and the payback percentage is lower, but that's to be expected when there isn't the same competition for your dollar that there is in Vegas. They may have slot tournaments during the week to try to bring in more business, making a racino a good place to spend a weeknight if you don't already have plans.

3. Entertainment - You can see a lot of local musicians and comedians at the racino. Some offer karaoke throughout the week, too. In a way, the racino functions like a mini-casino. In warmer months, you may have the opportunity to see well-known performers outdoors in the racing grandstand. Additionally, some facilities offer motocross racing on the racetrack on days when live racing is not available.

4. Perks - The racinos offer the same type of slot card as you would see in a casino. You will accumulate points and then redeem them for free things, such as free play, valet parking, food and beverage, etc. Also, you will typically find a gift shop inside the racino where you can purchase souvenirs and gifts. Plus, they will usually offer the newbie some sort of incentive to visit, such as a ten dollar free play card to try out the slots without risk of losing their own money.

5. Restaurant - Most racinos offer a buffet at lunch and dinner, although you may find out that breakfast is available in some facilities. Some even have a more formal dining area, but generally you will choose from a buffet or a cafe. Thirsty ? Most racinos offer complimentary soft drinks and coffee.

6. Lounge/bar areas - You can always take some time to relax at the bar area, which typically will have a few games to keep you occupied while you watch television and have a few drinks. Cocktail waitresses will be around to take your order if you would prefer to stay with your machine.

Scioto Downs Racino
Scioto Downs Racino

Why choose a Racino over a Casino ?

It's really a matter of personal choice. If you are a serious gambler, you may prefer a casino with the table games and the bright lights and noise. The racino is more appealing to the slot player and the person who enjoys live racing and simulcast wagering.

Racinos are just now beginning to spread across the country, so it's too early to determine if they can thrive in a country that is infatuated with gambling, I'm willing to bet that there is room for the racino and the casino to co-exist. Plus, the added jobs will put money in the pockets of a few more citizens.

Only time will tell if the new blend of entertainment will be around for the long haul.

There are some helpful products and links below.

See you at the races !

Helpful Products for your visit

Not Just Another Slot Machine Strategy System: How to Win at Slot Machines
Not Just Another Slot Machine Strategy System: How to Win at Slot Machines

The good news is there is a system (for some reason people love the word "system" when it comes to gambling methods, so I'll stick with it), where you can leave the casino with money in your pocket, and not have that empty hollow feeling inside because you just lost more money than you can afford to lose.



Now that you know what a racino is, do you plan to visit one someday ?

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Thistledown Racino in North Randall, OH
Thistledown Racino in North Randall, OH | Source

Very entertaining finish to a race ! Keep your eye on the 7 horse (orange saddle cloth).

© 2013 Kenneth Claude

I always welcome feedback !

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    • jericho911 profile image

      Kenneth Claude 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      People have chosen to burn their money on one thing or another since the beginning of time. I think that for many, it's more of a time killer than anything else, or the "dream" of hitting a jackpot, which is really never going to happen. You have the right idea about poker. There is no advantage by the "house" to beat you whatsoever. It's the way that you play your own cards that determines win or lose. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      Newman 4 years ago

      I have never understood the drive to "bet" my hard earned dollars on a system that is designed for me to lose not gain? Is it an entertainment thing? What am I missing? I rarely gamble, maybe the occasional poker party, maybe annually consisting of maybe 20-30 dollars. I have never bought a scratch ticket in Ohio. I guess my question is why?