At the South Point, on Thursday afternoons and evenings, you may spot a man in a red blazer and a black top hat with a bugle. About 10 minutes before 4 p.m., which will be repeated again prior to 6, 8 and 10 p.m., he’ll play “First Call” to draw attention away from the gaming for a moment. Fans of the sport of kings will instantly recognize the iconic tune – it’s an alert calling the horses to the post.
Last week, the south Strip resort, which is known for its Equestrian Center (one of the finest equine facilities in the country), proudly unveiled the iVIEW Display Manager. The trailblazing technology allows for virtual horse racing on the casino floor. Executives believe it will heighten the spirit of excitement at the property. Created by Bally Technologies, an innovator and leader in the gaming industry, the iVIEW system adds a new layer to the concept of video slot and poker machines.
“People like it and are having a great time. Every machine on the casino floor is linked,” said Mike Trask, the manager of corporate communications for Bally Technologies. “You’ll hear screaming and see lots of interaction during the virtual horse races.”
The iVIEW Display Manager appeared earlier this year in Southern California at the Pechanga Resort & Casino and in Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun. The South Point is the first resort to get it in Las Vegas. A major investment was required to install the software, servers and special screens.
The iVIEW system is being utilized for a promotion called the “South Point Stakes.” Every Thursday, four virtual horse races will be run, and the winners will split bonus credits worth up to $30,000. Anyone playing a video gaming machine on the casino floor can enter, but you must possess a player’s card – dubbed The Club (signing up is easy, instantaneous and free) – as well as have earned at least 25 points in the preceding two hours. This amounts to wagering approximately $5.
At the launch event, the first series of races were called by one of the sport’s luminaries – veteran track announcer Frank Mirahmadi.
“I have always been a fan of the South Point. For them to incorporate a horse race into this promotion shows great marketing because, in my opinion, the greatest sport in the world is horse racing,” said Mirahmadi. “It has been my passion and my entire life since I was a kid.”
Now gamblers at the resort can experience the fun of horse racing and get a feel for why it’s so revered. Here’s how the promotion works: When the bugle sounds, players who have accrued 25 points on their Club cards will see the iVIEW Display Manger expand in their screens. They will be allowed to pick one of eight horses – which are represented by the numbers 1 through 8 and also have corresponding colors. Players have just one minute to choose their favorite from the field, and then they push a button to verify having made a selection. Finally, the race, which lasts about a minute, will be shown either in reduced size in their iVIEW display area or in full size on their slot screen.
“There’s an excitement when you’re at a horse race that is second to none,” added Mirahmadi. “To incorporate this virtual race into the promotion for the South Point Stakes does generate extra excitement, and I think it’s going to be a success.”
If you’re someone who enjoys the thrill of horse racing – even away from the track – or you just want to catch a taste of it, head to South Point on Thursdays and get a player’s card. Before long, you’ll be cheering and clapping as the bell rings and the announcer cries, “They’re off!”