What is a Racino?
Well the name gives most of it away. Racinos are quite simply, horse or dog racing tracks that also offer casino games, in some states only slot machines are allowed although this is not the case in Pennsylvania where table games are now available meaning that they are fully fledged casinos. In fact the first ever Racino in the US was opened in The Keystone State in 2006. With horse and dog racing numbers on the decline and the only race tracks doing well were the ones with slot machines it really was a simple decision for most states to introduce the idea of Racinos, thus keeping alive and in fact improving on a valuable tax revenue stream. At the moment there are ten states that operate and regulate Racinos and these came in to being partly due to the huge success of one particular Racino in Iowa named Prairie Meadows. The bankrupt racetrack found $26 million of investment, installed 1,100 slot machines and was such a success it paid back all monies owed 17 years early as well as turning a huge profit along the way, becoming the defining moment in the history of Racinos. Other states took notice and now they provide a popular form of entertainment across the nation. There some some huge Racinos around today and even more under construction and to a certain extent, although they have kept horse racing alive, the horses play second fiddle to the casinos, especially the slots.
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Racinos in PennsylvaniaIn December 2006 the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted in favor of granting six permanent Racino licenses to existing race tracks, with a seventh in the waiting for Valley View Downs & Casino. Pennsylvania has provided the US with a blueprint on how Racinos can boost an economy. Due to Act 71 over 44,000 jobs in related areas have been created and the financial impact has been overwhelming. The economic impact stems from the fact that Racinos and gambling at them is a popular pastime in the state, and it's not just the gambling that residents of the state flock to them for. Harrah's Philadelphia has eight restaurants, two large bars, a shopping center and three meeting rooms offering a location for both gambling, entertainment and even business. The Presque Isle Downs offers no less than 2,000 slot machines and as of 2010 there are table games on offer as well as first class racing. These establishments are scattered all over the state meaning that they are handy for residents and offer a great all round day out with visitors from many other states also coming in numbers. The Racinos in Pennsylvania are as follows.....
- Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack in Chester
- Harrah's Philadelphia Racino
- Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack in Bensalem
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville
- Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington
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