Horse racing and sports book industry veteran Michael L. Knapp has been named Youbet.com's director of new product integration, the company announced Nov. 2. Knapp, who has been serving as general manager of Surfside Race Place at Del Mar Fairgrounds, the largest off-track wagering facility in the U.S., assumes his new duties immediately.Knapp will take charge of operational planning to introduce and coordinate Youbet's game product offerings on platforms that serve customers in the U.S. and overseas. He will report to Victor Gallo, Youbet's head of business development.Youbet CEO Charles F. Champion said that Knapp's integration experience was a key factor in naming him to the newly created product integration and planning post.
"Our existing and new technologies provide platforms for a highly diverse set of customer services, including games and contests," Champion said. "As game creation begins to advance in our company, we recognized a need for a manager to lead rapid deployment across segments of our network and integrate both the delivery and marketing. There is no one in the sports wagering industry with a better record than Mike in managing tech-based products and driving them to market."
While in charge at Surfside, Knapp also acted as an executive consultant for racing operations, marketing and customer development for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and the California Authority of Racing Fairs. In his consulting capacity, he helped evaluate and recommend design and operational changes for the California Fairgrounds network of 23 off-track simulcast wagering facilities resulting in $20 million in capital improvements projects. From 2001 to 2005, Knapp also was chairman and/or vice chairman for CARF.
During his years with Surfside Race Place at Del Mar, the Fairgrounds was awarded first place seven consecutive years (2000-2006) from the Western Fairs Association for Best Facility Marketing. For nearly a decade (1988-1997), Knapp worked as the director of race and sports book operations, keno and poker at Harvey's Casino/Resorts in Lake Tahoe, NV.