Woodbine hoping new Dark Horse app is a game changer

The app uses artificial intelligence to do the handicapping for the users, which WEG is hoping will be a boon to less experienced bettors.

by Dave Briggs

The Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is planning to celebrate the return of live racing with the launch of a new betting app it thinks will be a game changer.

Dark Horse is an app that employs artificial intelligence to handicap races for the users.

“No one has done anything like this,” said WEG CEO Jim Lawson. “Racetracks have often offered handicapping tools and prediction tools, but we’re taking it to a whole new level with artificial intelligence. We use the artificial intelligence to parse through past performances to determine probable outcomes. This really mimics the algorithms the computer bettors are using.”

Lawson said he hopes one of the benefits is giving smaller bettors the chance to compete with bigger punters using advanced computer systems.

“It’s an amazing product. We’ve eliminated the complication. We’ve cut right through the betting process and it’s pretty fun and engaging because you’re seeing all these different bets and bet packages. It’s actually an amazing product,” Lawson said. “The win percentage is incredibly high…. We’ve got our fingers crossed that people start to use it.”

Lawson said the app will have a soft launch this week. The Android version of the app is available and WEG is hoping the app to be approved by Apple in time for a hard launch in conjunction with the return of racing on June 5. More information is available at www.playdarkhorse.com.

“What you’ll see on Dark Horse, based on all this artificial intelligence, is we will produce wagering and betting packages saying, ‘What’s your risk?’ or ‘How do you want to do it?’ These bet packages almost propose fixed odds, although it’s pari-mutuel. We give an expected payout in real time, showing what all these different formulas and betting packages and what we can do. Then you can choose the level of risk, based on the liquidity in the pool. And it parses through the card daily, in terms of the North American cards. It’s done separately for A-level tracks, B-level tracks and maiden races. So there’s three different theoretical models for how it comes up with the information,” Lawson said.

“I hope it’s successful for us given all the money we’ve invested in it, but I hope it’s successful for this industry. It could be revolutionary in terms of people having fun and going onto the phone and doing these bets. You can watch the race and this artificial intelligence calculates the outcomes for you and it’s really quite an amazing thing.”