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News Link • Entertainment: Sports

Horse Racing Gets Futuristic

• http://www.technologyreview.com, David Zax

This week, a stodgy old sport gets a shiny new look, with the introduction of new multi-touch gaming tables at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a Chinese horseracing mecca. Apparently feeling that their sport needed a high-tech makeover, the Jockey Club teamed up with the digital company Possible Worldwide to develop enormous interactive gaming tables that deliver the races squarely into the iPad age. (Full disclosure, which I disclose more for its randomness than its relevance: Eight years ago, the Jockey Club financed my brief stint at a Hong Kong charity called Adventure-Ship. The Jockey Club is Hong Kong’s largest taxpayer and charitable contributor, which it can afford to be, since it is positively swimming in money.)

Horseracing almost feels like a throwback; it evokes images of old men angrily stubbing out cigars. But the new gaming tables--incorporating RFID, secure e-commerce and banking, multi-touch, digital video, and web technologies--are anything but a throwback. Up to eight gamers can play at a time. The tables debuted at the sleek and stylish “Adrenaline Bar” at Happy Valley, Hong Kong’s most famous racecourse.
 
 

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