Premier Turf Club CEO Ian Meyers said the company has most everything in place to offer full-service wagering from the ADW’s headquarters located in Fargo, N.D., but needs agreements with such racing giants as Magna Entertainment and Churchill Downs to flesh out track offerings.
“We are disappointed by the pace of our progress,” said Meyers, a retired investment banker and bond trader who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla. “We are fully operational, but after five weeks, have still been unable to secure simulcast signals on all the meets we need.
“We have provided them (MEC and Churchill) with everything they need, but have been given no guidance on when contracts might be extended to us,” Meyers continued. “Our goal is to bring back the money being bet illegally off-shore, but can’t do it without the full cooperation of the industry.”
Last December, Premier Turf Club obtained needed licensure from North Dakota regulators and set up a call center in a leased building. A few weeks later, the company announced it planned to offer phone wagering, and hoped to have Internet services up and running a few months later.
According to the company’s Web-site, Premier Turf Club is now handling phone wagering, but notes its track list is “a little bit lighter than we would like.” An accompanying file lists 26 available venues, but only seven that feature Thoroughbred racing – Delta Downs, Hawthorne, Mountaineer Park, Sam Houston, Sunland Park, Turf Paradise and Turfway Park.
Officials with both Churchill Downs and Magna Entertainment said Premier Turf Club’s signal applications are working their way through normal investigatory processes. Many tracks have developed more stringent requirements in the wake of a few recent scandals involving off-shore rebate shops.
A Churchill Downs spokeswoman said Premier Turf Club officials expressed interest in the company’s signals about a month ago and have been working with simulcast director Patrick Troutman.
“Patrick and his team are doing their due diligence on the organization since Premier offers rebates to its customers,” Churchill Downs Inc. vice president of communications Julie Koenig Loignon wrote in an e-mail to The Blood-Horse. “Like many racing companies, CDI (has) instituted stricter measures for vetting rebate shops and ensuring wagering integrity.”
Magna Entertainment is also working Premier Turf Club’s bid through various stages of review, said MEC secretary and legal counsel William G. Ford.
“I understand they would want it to move it quicker, but we have new structures in place,” Ford said. “We are not turning them down. We are working it through the system.”
Magna Entertainment is currently running two of its premier meets, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park, which both conclude April 22. Churchill Downs is currently operating the Fair Grounds meet, which closes March 25, but also manages the signal for the Bay Meadows meet, which ends April 22.