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Hoosier Park site in Indy tests mobile wagering

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Patrons at Hoosier Park's off-track-betting site in downtown Indianapolis can now bet on horse races from the comfort of their seats, and they'll soon be able to place wagers from their smartphones.

Hoosier Park's Winner's Circle Pub, Grille and OTB is the only Indiana site that has introduced the FastBet Mobile system to their services.

For the first time, starting Monday, guests had the option of using 7-inch tablets, supplied by the business, to place bets. That means guests don't have to leave their seats to rush over to the teller windows or self-serve stations to stand in line.

They can make their picks on the tablets from anywhere inside the property, including at the restaurant and bar, which also have live races showing on several television screens, said Tricia Lavore, the Winner's Circle general manager.

The business has more than 50 tablets available for people to use for free, she said. The tablets only have access to the wagering program.

But, starting July 4 weekend, people will be able to use the free online service — on-site only — on their own smartphones, iPads or Android tablets.

To use the in-house tablets, guests must put down a $50 deposit, which is refunded when the tablets are returned, Lavore said. They fill out simple membership forms and can use the tablets anywhere indoors. The program and tablets cannot be used on the outdoor patio or off the premises.

To use the mobile wagering, people will have to deposit funds into an account at a teller window first, Lavore said. The amount in the account will always be displayed on the tablet, and will show updated balances after wins and losses.

Once people are finished with the tablets, they can cash out at a teller window or leave their balance in their account until next time, the release said.

"Existing customers will like the freedom of being anywhere in the building and not having to wait in lines," Lavore said.

Their dinner doesn't have to be interrupted and they can continue to sit with friends at the bar, she said.

"And a lot of our gamers like to place wagers closer to the post time — the later the better — because odds change," Lavore said. "This (mobile system) allows them to place bets at the latest moment possible."

Lavore thinks that the new program will also attract new gamblers, especially younger customers who will be intrigued by the technology. People who tested the system said they enjoyed being in a social environment and spending time with friends while they all placed bets together.

"The technology is extremely easy to manage," Lavore said. "It's a lot of fun."

There are other off-track-betting sites around the country that are using the program, but the Winner's Circle is the only facility in Indiana that got approval from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to use it, Lavore said.

Winner's Circle will serve as the testing grounds for Hoosier Park. If it is as successful as Lavore expects it to be, it could be implemented at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson. Lavore said the testing period will last through the end of the year.

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