Swipe left, swipe right: Preakness debuts big screens for betting

Swipe left, swipe right: Preakness debuts big screens for betting

It's not just for dating anymore.

Preakness Stakes hosts added a new game based on swipes to help bettors choose which horse to wager.

1/st owners of Pimlico are introducing a Tinder-like app at the day of racing this year. The company brought six larger touchscreen betting terminals, which are user-friendly, that Paul Williams, CEO at 1/st, believes could change the game.

Williams stated that this year's Preakness Stakes was more of a trial run and the company planned to bring 300 machines to the race next year and move away from the older machines. Williams said that the new games and betting terminals will allow racing fans to bet more on the Preakness in 2018. Marylanders are also able to bet using their smartphones for the first time.

Williams stated that he was bringing a new experience to the big screen, something people are used to in this modern age. Williams said that people have been using old technology for 30 years and we wanted to offer something new.

The betting terminals are equipped with not only larger screens but also two different user interfaces. The first interface is designed for experienced bettors and makes use of technology to create more complex wagers such as trifectas where bettors must guess which horse will finish first, second, and third. The interface is designed for beginners and includes features such as pictures of silver, gold and bronze medals. This helps to explain different bets, like winning, showing, and placing, where the better wins if their horse finishes first or second.

There are two premises. Williams stated that the application was designed to be user-friendly and teach you while you are using it. "No. It's designed to look more modern and approachable. Nobody wants to be slowed down and have a queue form behind them.

Madison Hayes was attracted to the Owners Chalet by the larger screens. Hayes claimed that the 'big, shiny' machines attracted her 'like moths to a fire'. She said that she normally places her wagers at betting windows with teller, but she didn't want to talk to anyone. Hayes, a more seasoned bettor used the advanced betting system and found it easier to place bets on multiple horses.

Hayes said, "I love the big screens, they are interactive, easy-to-use, and allow me to place more complex bets."

Bettor's who normally place bets on their smartphones also came to the betting terminals. Tom Willis, 22, from Boston, bets on the Boston Bruins using the DraftKings or FanDuel app. The Boston Bruins had the most wins during the NHL regular season, but lost to the Florida Panthers in the first round this year. Willis wants to wager on all 14 races on Saturday at Pimlico, but he will keep his smartphone in his pocket. He wants to be able feel his bet slips when he's at the track. There is nothing better than tearing up a losing bet slip.

He said, "I don't really care how I bet. I just want that paper in my hands."

Willis said he wanted to try the new games in 1/st’s betting app, and was particularly interested in the swiping and slot machine games. Slot machine betting allows players to press a single button, and the computer will create a trifecta depending on the numbers that the slot machine machine lands.

Some bettors are not interested in technology. Jordan Bukovsky, Michiko Baker and others have attended 11 Preaknesses. They mostly came to bet. They said that they could bet when watching races on television.

Baker stated that "Preakness is about atmosphere." There is no need for betting machines. Betting with a teller is all about the experience. It is the main reason to be here, and not watch on the couch.

Bukovsky, like any other gambler, said that betting with a teller is also fraught with superstition. He claimed that if he loses a bet at one window, the teller has brought him bad luck.

He said: 'I will switch it up after I lose, I won't go back with someone who gave me an unlucky person, I'll use a new person.'