Racinos –  A Combination of Casino and Racetrack


Racinos are gambling destinations that are popular throughout the United States. Many people love visiting racinos for a variety of reason, whether that’s to gamble or have an entertaining night out. However, numerous people don’t know what racinos are or what you can do there.

If you’re one of the many people who hasn’t heard of racinos, read on to find out what they are and why they’re so different to regular casinos.

What Are Racinos?

Racinos are basically a combined racetrack and casino. Most racinos are limited to only allowing slots and electronic gaming, although many have begun adding traditional table casino games such as blackjack, roulette and poker.

It’s common knowledge that America’s race-horsing industry has been in decline for several years, but racinos helped attract new people to the site with the introduction of slots games and more. Racinos have risen in popularity in recent years and the higher attendance allows the racino to spend more time developing a high-quality race-track.

Harness Racing

The casino games offered at racinos depends on which state the racino is based in as the United States has strict gambling laws. As of today, racinos are only available in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.  

Surprisingly, racetracks are illegal in the state of Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, so you won’t be seeing a racino open up there. Meanwhile, several states that allow racetracks haven’t yet opened their own racino.

The History of Racinos

The first racino first opened in Pennsylvania in 2006 when the MTR Gaming Group was given permission to install video lottery terminals (VLTs) at their race track which is now called the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

Over the next seven years, more US states legalised racinos and many race tracks which were quickly declining and close to closure took the opportunity to install VLTs on-site in order to boost their revenue, and it worked. Racinos then continued to grow in popularity until today, when they’ve never been more popular.

Why Should I Visit a Racino?

Racinos are popular because they act as ordinary casinos with the added benefit of being able to gamble on racetracks. Watching and betting on a horse race can be exciting as players cheer on their horse while it competes against the other animals. The environment is fun, exciting and lively and has proven to be incredibly popular in the United States.

Video Lottery Terminal

However, racinos also offer their visitors much more than that. As mentioned above, most racinos feature electronic games and slots for users to play. However, some reports suggest that the slot machines at racinos have higher minimum bets and lower RTP (Return to Player) percentages, meaning it’ll be harder to win money.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can always visit racinos for the entertainment they offer. Many musicians and comedians perform live at racinos while others air live sports matches or offer special karaoke nights from time to time. Some comedians or singers perform outdoors during warmer months, which could make for a fun night out.

Just like most casinos, racinos are home to delicious restaurants and fun, quirky bars. It’s common to find racinos offering a buffet at lunch or dinner, though some are much more formal. Racino bars give visitors to chance to relax with a drink and watch some television. Some racino bars even have electronic games to keep visitors busy and waiters and waitresses will be more than happy to serve you at the machine so you don’t need to move a muscle!

Racino Vs Casino: Which is Better?

Now that you know about racinos, one big question remains: Which is better? Well, truthfully, that depends entirely on you and what you prefer. Many people enjoy visiting racinos because they offer most of what can be found at casinos with the additional benefit of horse racing.

However, racinos may be more appealing to slots players since most racinos don’t yet offer traditional casino games and are quite limited in that regard. They may also appeal to people who just want to have a fun night out due to the number of live performances some racinos have, you don’t necessarily need to care about gambling to have fun at a racino.

Horse Racing

Meanwhile, casinos tend to be preferred by people who enjoy playing a variety of gambling games. While both racinos and casinos feature bars, restaurants and live entertainment, casinos generally have a wider selection of games since they’re not just limited to slots. However, many will quickly get bored of finding the same selection of games and there will be nothing to replace them with.

Racino horse racing is different every time, whether that’s the winner or the horses competing in the game. This will keep players coming back to watch their favourite horse or to find a new lucky animal. It also keeps players excited and can be seen as a welcome distraction from the limited casino games available.

Ultimately, you know what you will prefer, whether that’s better live entertainment or possibly a wider selection of casino games. However, you’re completely free to enjoy both casinos and racinos.

Popular Racinos in the United States

As of today there a total of 73 racinos in the US. Some racinos, such as the Oaklawn Racing & Gaming racino in Garland, Arkansas, and the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Jefferson, West Virginia, feature thoroughbred racinos. This means they only feature pure breed horses.

Meanwhile, several racinos located in Alabama, Arkansas and West Virginia feature greyhound racinos in which greyhounds are used instead of horses. The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in Hancock, West Virginia, features both thoroughbred horses and greyhounds.

The most popular racinos are the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown, Ohio, the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway in Dayton, Ohio, the JACK Thistledown Racino in Ohio and the Saratoga Casino and Raceway in New York.