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Exercise Routines You Can Bet On

July 13, 1999|JOSE CARDENAS

If this Virginia entrepreneur has her way, health-conscious gamblers won't have to sacrifice their weekend exercise routines at L.A. health clubs for excursions to Las Vegas. Kathy Harris, president of Fitness Gaming Corp., hopes to take the country's gaming establishments by storm with two machines that combine the giant industries of fitness and gambling.

The Pedal 'N Play bicycle and Money Mill treadmill are equipped with slot machines. But neither the exercise nor gambling portions of the machines work unless both elements are being used.

The 1-year-old corporation has sold 10 machines to a few curious customers, including Carnival Cruise Lines. Harris is also marketing them to hotels and other gambling facilities from Atlantic City to Las Vegas.

"We have a lot of irons in the fire," says Harris, who worked in property management before starting Fitness Gaming. "This is more a 21st century concept."

Harris, whose corporation is based in Fairfax, Va., got the idea after a 1996 trip to Atlantic City. She was torn between gambling and exercising, opting for the latter. But as she pedaled away in the gym, she thought of the ambience her husband was enjoying without her in the casino.

It took 2 1/2 years to make the concept a reality, from consulting with a patent lawyer to hiring an engineer. She unveiled her products at the World Gaming Congress in Las Vegas last year, where she will market them again this year.

The Pedal 'N Play costs $6,300 and the Money Mill $7,600.

Fitness Gaming Corp.: (703) 934-5203.

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