Massive Jackpot on Virtual Horse
By darren
A truck driver from Scotland was planning early retirement on Wednesday after winning a record payout on a horse that doesn't even exist. Stuart Johnstone from Livingstone, Scotland, scooped 84,198.50 pounds ($132,460) after placing a bet on a virtual horse race at his local bookies.

A spokesman for bookmakers Ladbrokes, which owns the shop, said 59-year-old Johnstone landed the huge prize after betting just 7.50 pounds on four computerized nags, each of which romped to victory.

Warren Lush, a Ladbrokes spokesman: 'We're delighted Stuart has found a spot for himself in the bookies' record books. The win has smashed all the previous records for a Virtual Horse Racing payout.'

Launched in May 2002, Virtual Horse Racing broadcasts 10 live races a day across 10,000 Ladbrokes' betting shops. Around 250,000 people a week watch computerized horses race around computerized courses. Turnover has doubled in the last three months alone.

While the result is determined by a random number generator within a central computer, Lush said gamblers studied the winning patterns as if the races were real. And to enhance the authenticity, horses and even courses are given suitably racy names -- Portman Park and Steeple Down are the virtual world's two leading race venues.

Commenting on his bumper payout, Johnstone said: 'This is absolutely magic, I'm the virtual magician. I can't believe that at last I've beaten the bookies and it isn't even on a real horse.'

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