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Casino news | Oct 19, 2020

Horse Racing Simulators

By RTR Dennis

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Horse Racing Simulators

People have been betting on horse racing for as long as people have been riding horses. In fact the highest paid athlete ever was actually a Roman charioteer named Gaius Appuleius Diocles who between 122 AD and 146 AD earned over 35,863,120 Sesterces during his illustrious career which when worked out for today’s money is $15 billion but more importantly to some, his name is still known almost 2000 years after his death.

There are lots of famous legacies relating to horse races whether that is the horses themselves such as Red Rum and Secretariat or the legendary jockeys such as Lester Piggott and Frankie Dettori and I’m sure there are more to be founded in the future. It is therefore, no surprise that as long as there have been machines there have been horse racing machines, there are famous and well loved examples including the 1985 legend that is Sigma Derby. Up to 10 eager players circled around the green oval track with 5 horses lined up on tracks, a minimum bet of a quarter going all the way up to a max bet of $5, a quinella of two horses, in any order, pays out according the odds. These machines had a house edge of between 10% and 20% depending on how the machine was set up which could make them very profitable for a casino but, as with all things, times change and the world is getting faster and faster and the one or two minute delay between rounds is all lost time that the casinos weren’t making money so as such they are almost extinct in casinos. The MGM grand in Las Vegas had a Sigma Derby in regular use up until 2016 but unfortunately the machine broke down for its final time and has been put into storage and it may, in time, be cannibalized for parts for the last Sigma Derby still in use in Las Vegas which is in the care of Derek Stevens at The D casino, this machine has been running for 34 years and still gathers crowds to this day. Shouts of “come on Lucky Number 4!” are still commonly heard as people encircle the machine with cups full of quarters eager to get the chance to bet once more on this piece of gambling history.

Sigma Derby

I hope relics like Sigma Derby can live on but just as though it’s our responsibility to preserve the past it’s also our responsibility to look to the future and the wonders it can produce and I think Konami agreed when they released Fortune Cup in 2016. Fortune Cup is a modernized and improved version of Sigma Derby. Eight horses canter around a green oval, but unlike Sigma Derby, which offered quinella-only betting, in Fortune Cup you can wager on one horse to win or place. Fortune Cup also offers quinella betting and there is even a progressive-jackpot feature, the eligible horse is chosen by the machine after the race begins and a massive prize fund can be won. The game has 10 betting stations, card readers for your players club card, and even USB charging stations. The odds stay similar with an estimated house edge of between 16% and 18%, so Sigma Derby’s hefty house edge lives on. For those seeking time on device, Fortune Cup offers a good temporal return, with one race every 80 seconds. Each derby is accompanied by a multi-angle video display and pre-recorded play-by-play.

Fortune Cup

The greater smoothness of Fortune Cup is due to Konami’s powering of the horses through magnets, compared to the tracks in which the Sigma Derby horses ran. This means passing is more realistic and exciting, watching your horse weave wide on a corner and have it passed on the inside by one of the other brightly liveried horses is both a dreadful and delightful thing to experience. The liberation of horse from track also enables races to be run in a figure-eight pattern, although we don’t know how often that’s been done. Several casinos in Las Vegas have adopted Fortune Cup and I was very satisfied to learn that The D casino is one of these and now Fortune Cup is positioned next to its ancestral forebear Sigma Derby, continuing it’s formidable legacy.

In this digital, internet enabled era even just 4 years ago may as well be an eternity and horse racing simulators have left the physical machines behind and have moved to the internet. There are now innumerable racing simulators in even more online casinos all doing essentially the same thing as their earliest predecessors. You check the horses most recent form and the odd’s and follow your head, or indeed your heart and place your bets and then “They’re off!”. If you’re a fan of the older games then these may not measure up and you may pine for those days with the bells ringing and a cup of quarters in a dimly lit room. The trust has to be placed in the casino to keep these games fair, they are no longer powered with levers and gears but chips and processors.

So what do you think? Do you think only the real thing will do, or are you embracing the future with open arms?