Historic Horse Racing Games: A Different Take on Slot Machine Style Gaming


Historical horse racing machines (or “HHR machines”) allow you to bet on horse races that have taken place in time. These machines allow you to make bets on the outcome of races but these races don’t take place in real-time.

Guest author Daniel Bennet discusses how historic horse racing games have influenced slot machine games in Canada. To find out more about Daniel Bennet, click here.

The horse racing machines have been pegged as an additional source of revenue to racetracks as they are usually a bit hit with punters who show up to bet on real-time horse races. HHR machines allow punters to also test their luck and bet on historic races and see if they can win. These HHR machines are in many ways similar to slot machines and hence also attract players who like playing the slots.

Canadian players for example enjoy playing horse racing slot machine games and don’t pass up the chance to place a bet or two on historical horse racing machines. In Canada those players who like playing slot machine games or horse racing themed slots, will be able to find a number of Canadian-friendly casinos at Canadian casinos online.

We now take a closer look at some of the key similarities and differences between slots and these historical gaming machines.

HHR Machine Bet Outcomes are Predetermined

On its surface, these HHR machines allow punters to bet on the outcome of horse races, similar to how they bet in racetracks or off-track betting sites. Racetrack owners in multiple states across America are very keen to have these HHR machines installed at their tracks but there is a lot of red tapes to go through.

This is because gaming regulations that surround HHR games are a bit complicated. One reason for this is because the races used in historic horse racing machines have already occurred. Because the races punters are betting on have already happened, they can choose not to play out the race itself, but fast-forward to the end result to find out whether they won or lost their bet.

The reels in the horse racing machines are similar to those used in slots. Punters can skip the actual race to watch the reels lock into place to show the results of the race.

Bonuses in HHR Machines are Already Set

The bonuses in horse racing game functions differently compared to slots, where the outcomes have yet to be decided. Because the horse races you are betting on with these machines have already occurred, the bonuses are also predetermined.

The reel function used by these machines only adds to the entertainment value of your bets, compared to slots where the specific spin of the reels determines whether you win or lose.

HHR Machines Follow Pari-Mutuel Rules

Horse races follow pari-mutuel rules, which determine an operators’ cut of the profits based on the total bets placed on a specific race. Once a race is completed and results are turned in, a significant portion of the betting pool is returned to players with winnings bets, with a small portion reserved for the operator.

With HHR machines, racetrack operators are able to draw in two kinds of players all at once: racehorse aficionados will enjoy the autonomy to make bets based on their estimation of various factors, while slot fans will enjoy the speed and ease with which they can make bets. In states where casino-style games are still illegal, HHR machines can make a big difference among people who want to bet without reviewing long sheets of horse racing information.

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HHR Machines are Not Covered by Casino Regulations

The potential of HHR machines to revitalize the economies of states where casinos are illegal is further compounded by their exclusion from gaming regulations, which restrict how and when slot machines and other gambling games can be offered.

For instance, in most countries, slots can only be offered to players who are at least 21 years old. Slot machines can only be placed in areas or venues where there is a minimal chance of exposing younger individuals. Because HHR machines operate under horse racing rules, individuals 18 years old and above will be able to access them, adding to the potential player base of such games.

Another consequence of HHR machines being regulated as a horse racing game rather than as a casino game is that non-casino goers will be able to access and play them, opening up more avenues for tax revenues for local and state governments.


HHR games may not appeal to a huge audience but there is a niche audience in Canada and across the world that are very interested in these games. As long as there is a demand for HHR games, developers will continue to develop them.

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