Place your bets: Horse, dog racing kiosks bring the track to local barsNorth Dakota horse and dog racing fanatics can place their bets without heading to the tracks.
North Dakota horse and dog racing fanatics can place their bets without heading to the tracks.
MTPBets USA Inc. of Wilmington, Del., recently installed self-betting kiosks in 10 businesses across southwest North Dakota for live horse and dog races, said Winston Satran, North Dakota Racing Commission director of racing, Tuesday.
North Dakota is the first state in North America to have kiosks installed, Bradford said.
The first machine was installed Jan. 6 in Captain Freddy’s, a bar in Mandan.
“I’m hoping it draws people in,” Captain Freddy’s co-owner Susanne White said. “I know the excitement of being at a track and I think if a group of people come in together, it can be that exciting.”
Medora-based Boots Bar & Grill, Champs Sports Club Grill & Bar in Dickinson and South Heart-based I Don’t Know Bar also have kiosks, and people seem to like them, said Mike Sticka, I Don’t Know owner.
“It’s nice that there’s something else to do besides pull tabs and blackjack,” he said. “Really that’s all there is here.”
Kiosks are machines that allow customers to bet on live horse and dog races electronically. The machine scans photo IDs, and players can set up accounts.
Patrons can pick the animal they want to win and watch the races from the location. If luck is on their side, they get paid cash or receive credit on their accounts through the machine.
The machines cost between $13,000 and $16,000, MTPBets General Manager Lee Bradford said.
The machines are almost labor-free, Satran said.
There have been technical issues with the kiosks at Captain Freddy’s, but almost all the bugs have been worked out, White said.
“We got one more thing we want to upgrade, and then we will really start pushing it because I don’t want people to come in and be disappointed,” she said.
The I Don’t Know Bar will have a class for patrons within the next month to demonstrate how the machines work.
“I think it’s just one of those things where the older people just don’t have the patience to want to figure it out because it is a computer,” he said. “There are just a lot of people that don’t know about it.”
A small percentage of the profits go to two nonprofit organizations — Mandan’s Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation and the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora.
“That’s always wonderful when something benefits something else,” White said.
Kiosks will help support live racing in North Dakota through taxes, Satran said. The machines will also make bars more social and bring in more customers, Bradford said.
“Right now they’d have to drive (to the race track) to do the wagering or they have to go someplace else where this is convenient for them to be able to go to their favorite bar, sit down and have beer with good people and still be able to enjoy the dog racing and the horse racing,” he said.
White said kiosks could become popular in the state.
“Part of the reason they got it in is because horse racing is somewhat of a dying industry, and they are hoping that they can excite people and get it going again,” she said.