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Track Offers Drive Thru Gambling

July 9, 1999

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (AP) _ You say you just don’t have the time to gamble? A Texas race track is looking to make things a little easier _ with a drive-through.

Starting today, gamblers at Lone Star Park can play the horses the same way they buy fast food. The four service lanes are in the track parking lot, just off Belt Line Road, a main thoroughfare.

Lone Star is the nation’s second thoroughbred track to offer drive-up windows, following Keeneland, a track in Lexington, Ky., that started similar service last year, Lone Star general manager Corey Johnsen said.

The booths will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on race days.

``You just drive right up and make your wagers and pay for them and off you go,″ Johnsen said. He promised face-to-face service, ``no Jack-in-the-Box speakers or anything.″

One occasional bettor, Del Solis, said he likes the idea and is more likely to try his luck at the drive-through. ``Sometimes I can’t be there when the race starts so this will make it easier,″ he said.

Sue Cox, executive director of the Texas Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling, said the setup might make it a bit too easy for compulsive gamblers.

``It’s just going to make it an impulse reaction as opposed to planned activity,″ she said. ``When it is a simple act to whip in and buy a ticket, it takes it out of the recreational category (of) capturing the beauty of animals and a real sport.″

Gamblers can also cash winning tickets at the windows. For security reasons, the most they can collect on a ticket at the window is $100. They will get a voucher to pick up the rest of their winnings inside.

The 2-year-old horse track was the state’s first to offer cash machines for gamblers and has tried to make itself family friendly, with a playground and picnic grounds.

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