Racinos are the combination of racetracks and casinos. In 1992, the first racino opened in the state of Rhode Island in the US. Two years later, four additional states - Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, and West Virginia - legalized the operation of racinos.
Polk County, the owner of Prairie Meadows then a brand new but bankrupt horse track located in the state of Iowa, spent $26 million to convert track's clubhouse into a casino and installed 1,100 slot machines. The Prairie Meadows racino opened in April 1, 1995.
Reel-spinning slots proved to be much more popular than video poker. After 12 months, slot machine revenues totaled $119.3 million, enabling Polk County to pay off the $27 million bond issue that paid for the clubhouse casino conversion and retire the track's initial $38.8 million bond issue 17 years early.
With Prairie Meadows' rapid turnaround, the racino concept came of age. The speedy transformation of a struggling Iowa horse racing track into a highly profitable horse racing and slot gaming business was the defining moment in the marriage of pari-mutuel betting and casino / machine gaming.
Place a bet on your favorite horse or play your favorite casino game now.