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Up Front: PRODUCT PEEK
TURN YOUR TV INTO A TOTE BOARD
CALL IT THE INFORMATION Super Raceway. A Tulsa-based satellite broadcaster has a plan for people who want to bet on the ponies--and maybe on other sports--from the comfort of their own couches. ODS Technologies, in partnership with Mark Goodson Productions and Comcast Cable, wants to let rec-room railbirds wager using a special interactive hookup to their TVs. For an as-yet undetermined sum, viewers can choose from an onscreen menu that shows a racing form with background and handicappers' odds on a horse, plus up-to-the-minute tote board data, such as scratches. Viewers place bets with a handheld remote that links them to a track where they maintain an account. Then they watch the race on a cable channel. Gambling-wary Maryland turned down ODS's application to operate this spring, but in Kentucky the company just struck a deal with Churchill Downs to test-market the service.
The plan is to let viewers put money on any race that's available to simulcast bettors--those who wager at the track on televised races from around the country. Today, homebound racing aficionados can bet via phone in seven states, but they don't receive the instant tote-board info.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI Roy Furchgott