Racing needs innovation to stay relevant. This is the third in an ongoing series where we will highlight innovation in the industry which could have an impact to improve racing or the racing experience for owners or horseplayers.

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It’s not often one thinks of lottery games and horse racing together. While the occasional inscrutable race might seem like a lottery to some handicappers, the two gambits are monumentally different. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has approved a trial run for a new lottery game in the state which derives its results from a daily live horse race.
The premise is simple – the lottery player buys a ticket for the game, called Win Place Show, and receives a randomly generated set of three horses for the day’s selected race. A QR code on the ticket enables the player to scan it on a smartphone and view the race live or on replay. Players win if the race results match three in a row, three in any order or any two exactly.

Brad Cummings, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of EquiLottery, enjoyed success in racing media as a co-founder of the Paulick Report. Despite a lack of exposure to the racing industry before that endeavor, the racing experiences Cummings enjoyed building the Paulick Report left him curious that the sport was struggling to obtain more broad-based exposure.

“When I met my co-founder Ray Paulick, I had been to the racetrack twice in my life. I had rarely ever been exposed to the racetrack experience and really fell in love with the sport as we were building our business.

“So I was left with the question, why didn’t I have more interaction with horse racing as I came of age? I’m a sports fan. I love casino gaming, especially poker. Horse racing should be a natural fit. 

“I realized the problem was distribution and exposure of the sport. I grew up 30 minutes away from several racetracks and didn’t even know they existed. Something had to be done to bring the sport to millions who currently don’t think about it as an entertainment option.”

But, to Cummings and his company, this is more than just a new lottery game. 

The Win Place Show trial – which requires the game to meet or exceed sales goals for all 45 stores where it is available across 90 days – is hopefully just the start, with EquiLottery planning to launch the game across Kentucky and then expand to other states, many of which have been receptive to the EquiLottery concept, but are awaiting the results of their success in Kentucky. 

“Kentucky’s Win Place Show will mark the first ever daily lottery game based on a live sporting event - horse racing has a unique opportunity to be an industry leader. We have several other game concepts in the works including games based on team sports and golf tournaments, and also recently made news with our announcement of a partnership with Speedway Motorsports Inc. to develop games based on auto racing.

“The greatest benefit to the horse racing industry is the mass market exposure of the sport to millions of people who only know about it one day a year. We have built the infrastructure to begin offering this game to all available lotteries over the next five to ten years. That’s 200,000+ new points of purchase around the country that could sell lottery tickets based on live horse racing. Because these are game-of-chance players, this represents an entirely new player base for horse racing which will deliver more revenue to racetracks and purses.”

More eyes on racing, even through this alternate gambit, will hopefully translate into more interest and more revenue to the sport.

EquiLottery debuts at select locations in Kentucky on March 31. Without question, the venture will yield increased exposure to a sport in great need of added attention. There is every chance that other sports join in the live sports lottery concept, but for now, as Cummings says, “horse racing gets to step up to the plate first.”
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