What Are HHR Machines?


If you’ve ever been in a casino and spotted a machine resembling a regular slot machine but with a unique twist, chances are you’ve come across an HHR machine.

But what exactly are HHR machines, and how do they work? Let’s check more about the Historic Horse Racing (HHR) also known as Instant Racing, and the mechanics behind these innovative gaming devices.

About HHR Machines


Arkansas was the first state to implement HHR machines at Oaklawn Park (now Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort) in 2000, following the passage of a 1999 act.

At first glance, HHR machines may appear similar to regular slot machines in casinos.

However, their inner workings set them apart in a unique and interesting way.

Each spin on an HHR machine is the replay of an actual horse race that has already occurred at one of the many racetracks worldwide.

It’s like experiencing the racetrack’s excitement right from your casino seat!

horse racing HHR machinesHow Do HHR Machines Work?

The gameplay of HHR machines is where the magic happens.

Players deposit their wagers, and the machine selects a race from an extensive library of past races, often numbering over 60,000 races.

Important to add that HHR machines don’t reveal identifying information such as the horses and jockeys’ location, date, or names.

Instead, players rely on handicapping information displayed on the machine, such as the jockeys’ and trainers’ winning percentages, to make their picks.

Players can choose the projected order of finish based on this information or opt for the machine’s auto-cap feature to make selections automatically.

Once the bets are placed, the machine displays a replay of the selected race. Payouts are determined by traditional pari-mutuel processes, where the player’s wager is divided into different pools for various winning possibilities.

  The Evolution of HHR Machines

Historical horse racing has come a long way since its inception, with various forms and providers entering the market over the years.

Exacta Systems, PariMax, and Ainsworth Gaming Technology are among the primary providers of HHR machines.

Ainsworth Gaming Technology, based in Las Vegas, has been at the forefront of HHR expansion, particularly in Kentucky, where lawmakers eventually legalized HHR.

Ainsworth’s collaboration with Churchill Downs, Inc. was pivotal in developing HHR technology, leading to innovative platforms that re-created themes and gameplay with remarkable accuracy.

The Legal Landscape of HHR Machines

The legality of HHR machines has been a subject of debate and contention in various states across the USA.

While some states have embraced and legalized HHR, others have faced legal challenges and legislative hurdles.

For example, in states like Kentucky, where the horse racing industry holds significant cultural and economic importance, the legalization of HHR has provided a much-needed boost.

Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park, and other venues have successfully integrated HHR terminals into their offerings, attracting enthusiasts and newcomers to historical horse racing.

To summarize, HHR machines provide an exciting experience that celebrates the rich heritage of horse racing while delivering the fun of the track to players in casinos across the country.

So the next time you see an HHR machine, take a chance and enjoy horse racing fun while enjoying a slot!

US gambling sites

States with Restrictions on Historical Horseracing

Many states allow HHR; however, numerous states have failed to legalize pari-mutuel wagering on HHR, whether through legislative channels, regulatory authorization, or state ballot measures.

Historically, any effort to broaden the definition of pari-mutuel wagering using HHR machines has faced skepticism and resistance.

In some states, attorneys general have provided formal opinions in cases of uncertainty or dispute.

As a result, HHR is either prohibited or not authorized as a form of pari-mutuel wagering in 11 states.

In late February 2024, state attorneys general in Louisiana and Arizona issued opinions on the legality of HHR machines, adding to the list of states that either prohibit HHR or deem it unconstitutional.

What Are Racinos?

Racinos are hybrid facilities that combine horse racing tracks with casino-style gambling. The term “racino” is a portmanteau of “racetrack” and “casino.”

In a racino, visitors can enjoy watching live horse racing events and participating in various gambling activities, such as slot machines (HHR), table games like blackjack and poker, and sometimes even sports betting.

NCPG helpline problem gamblingResponsible Gambling

While enjoying horse racing or slots, keep in mind that you should establish healthy gambling habits.

Here are some gambling tips responsibly:

  • Set Limits: Before gambling, decide how much money you can lose and stick to that limit.
  • Understand the Odds and RTP: Knowing the odds and RTP of the games you’re playing can help manage expectations.
  • Keep It Fun: Gambling should be seen as entertainment, not a way to make money.
  • Take Breaks: It’s essential to take breaks to assess your gambling and avoid becoming too engrossed.
  • Know When to Stop: Recognize the signs of problem gambling, including chasing losses, gambling until you have no money left, or borrowing money to gamble.

And if you ever feel that gambling impacts you negatively, please contact the National Problem Gambling Hotline for support at 1-800-522-4700.

You can also text the number 1-800-522-4700 or enter the website chat here.

Want to learn more about online casinos and sports gambling? Follow our Online Gamblers Academy and learn how to have fun responsibly!

HHR machines, short for Historic Horse Racing machines, are electronic gambling devices that resemble traditional slot machines but offer a unique twist in gameplay.

While they may look similar, HHR machines operate by replaying past horse races instead of using random number generators like traditional slots.

Players deposit their wagers, and the machine selects a race from a vast library of past races. Players then use handicapping information to make their selections, and the machine displays a replay of the race.

Handicapping information displayed on the machine includes data such as jockeys’ and trainers’ winning percentages, helping players make informed picks.

Payouts on HHR machines are based on traditional pari-mutuel processes, where the player’s wager is divided into different pools for various winning possibilities.

Exacta Systems, PariMax, and Ainsworth Gaming Technology are among the leading providers of HHR machines.

Ainsworth Gaming Technology, based in Las Vegas, played a significant role in the expansion of HHR, particularly in Kentucky, through its innovative technology and collaboration with Churchill Downs, Inc.

The legality of HHR machines varies from state to state, with some states embracing and legalizing them while others face legal challenges and legislative hurdles.

HHR machines have provided a much-needed boost to the horse racing industry in states like Kentucky, where they have helped increase revenue and attract new audiences to the sport.

With their innovative gameplay and historical racing replays, HHR machines provide a one-of-a-kind experience that combines the excitement of casino gambling with the thrill of horse racing.

Liga Tarasova has a history of quality assurance and leading teams in an outsourcing company. Currently, she is working remotely as an Editor in Chief for Onlinegamblers.com. She stands for fair and safe gambling for people in the USA. Not long ago, she lived in Malta, the global iGaming hub, and worked at an iGaming company offering cloud-based product and platform services to B2B partners. Liga’s passion is visual arts and interior design.

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