Chicago’s Hawthorne Race Course has introduced a new pari-mutuel based product line through a partnership with virtual sports software developer Virtual Live Racing (VLR).
The deal has seen VLR create a virtual version of the race course, for inclusion in its virtual racing products. The games allow customers to bet on virtual races based on past data recorded at the track, rather than using random number generators to determine results.
“We are excited to offer our Hawthorne data and brand to be included with this innovative new pari-mutuel wagering product line,” Hawthorne assistant general manager John Walsh said.
“Racing fans across North America will be able to wager Hawthorne Virtual as it is available to all tote systems in the US via distribution through AmTote International’s Spectrum wagering system which enables us to create a brand new risk-free revenue stream.”
VLR chairman Vincent Caldwell added: “Hawthorne is our fourth product to go live in the US. It follows Derby Lane, Tampa Bay Downs and Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida, and we have two more tracks that are currently undergoing testing before being launched later this month.”
“Our Virtual Live Racing product offers a no cost, risk free, revenue stream opportunity to racetracks all over the world. Racing is going through a tough time and tracks should embrace new products which can offer them income, and promote their tracks to a global audience.”
Hawthorne struck a deal with PointsBet in 2019, for the sports betting operator to offer a retail sportsbook on the site of the race course.
More recently, a $400m redevelopment project took a step forward, after the track’s executives were granted preliminary suitability for a casino license by the Illinois Gaming Board.
This redevelopment will see a casino constructed on the premises, with facility expected to open in late 2021, pending final licensing approvals.