From Hedgehogs to Horses

15 July 1999
After years of feeding mind numbing entertainment to callous-thumbed video game zombies, Sega Enterprises Ltd. is setting its sites on the online gaming market. The company has reportedly signed a deal with the Japan Racing Association (JRA) to jointly operate a system for taking horseracing bets online via Sega's DreamCast home-use game machines.

Sega expects the move to attract horse-racing fans to its game machines and enable it to promote DreamCast while the JRA believes hopes to improve the image of horse racing and create future punters among the young.

The two companies will develop software for the PAT phone-betting system, already used by the JRA to bet online through game machines made by Nintendo Co. and via dedicated terminals.

So far, 820,000 software packages for this service have been sold, including 240,000 Nintendo packages. The price of the Sega software has yet to be decided but the software for the dedicated terminals sells for around 10,000 yen.

Officials from the two companies said the system will be implemented in April 2000.