Wagering through Oregon Hub Grows 3%

Wagering through Oregon Hub Grows 3%
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications

Advance deposit wagering through the Oregon hub system grew nearly 3% in the first quarter of 2008 despite an overall decline in national betting numbers in North America.

Eight ADWs processing wagers through the state handled $351,789,868 in wagers in the first three months of the year, a 2.97% increase over last year’s same period, according to data compiled by the Oregon Racing Commission. The increase bettered the 3.11% decline realized in North America as reported by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in its quarterly "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators."

The Oregon total wagered by online and telephone bettors represents 10.2% of the entire North American handle reported by the NTRA.

The increase in Oregon was realized without the help of International Racing Group, which was hampered by a federal investigation into some of its operations that led to its eventual closing by parent company Youbet.com in mid-February. IRG accounted for nearly $87.4 million in handle through Oregon in the first quarter of 2007, but was only credited with only a little more than $400,000 in the first quarter of 2008.

Leading the way was TVG, which posted a quarterly-record of $108,175,332. TVG’s handle was up 33.1% over the first quarter of 2007, when it still had access to content now controlled by TrackNet Media Group, the joint venture of Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp.

Youbet.com had the second highest total with $95,466,423, but the company also processed wagers through a California hub in the first quarter of 2007, thus diluting its reporting in Oregon. Youbet.com said in recent financial filings that its first quarter handle was down $18.7 million year-over-year, or 16%, blaming the loss of TrackNet content, as well as legislative changes that forced the company to stop accepting wagers from residents in Arizona, Kansas and Washington D.C.

XpressBet.com, which is owned by MEC, posted a record Oregon total of $57,337,571, which was an increase of 2.1% year-over-year. MEC’s Santa Anita Park suffered an overall 7% decline in all-sources handle, but reported a 41% increase in ADW wagering that was bolstered by a California “experiment” that temporarily opened up the state’s entire racing to multiple companies, including TVG and Youbet.

CDI’s Twinspires.com, which includes platforms formerly operated under the AmericaTab entity it acquired last summer, posted an Oregon total of $61,621,626. Twinspires.com didn’t launch until late April of 2007, while AmericaTab separately handled $64,415,389 during the first quarter of last year.

Other ADW handle totals processed through Oregon in the first quarter of 2008 include: Bet Pad, $6,170,459; Oneclickbetting.com, $15,195,058; and Paydog.com, $7,415,456.

Gordon Tallman, ORC’s supervisor of account wagering hubs, said he expects another AmWest Entertainment to join the Oregon ADW hub ranks in the coming weeks, but doesn’t have an anticipated launch date for Racing 2 Day.

Oregon’s second-quarter numbers should reflect impact from signals shut off to ADWs because of the national dispute between racetracks and horsemen affiliated with the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group. The fallout from the stalled negotiations started in mid-April with the shut down of the Lone Star Park signal to ADWs, and has mushroomed to include Calder Race Course, Churchill Downs, Presque Isle Downs, River Downs, and Thistledown.

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