An agreement struck over the weekend will allow all online and telephone account wagering services to put the World Thoroughbred Championships on their menus Oct. 27.
"We have an agreement with TVG that basically allows whatever account wagering services being utilized by the racetracks to use those services on Breeders' Cup Day," said Ken Kirchner, Breeders' Cup's director of simulcasting. The agreement applies to all 10 races on the Breeders' Cup card and applies only to this year's event.
Breeders' Cup has a long-term exclusivity contract with the TV Games Network that covers online wagering, interactive television, and automated account wagering services that use voice recognition or touch-tones. The contract does not cover services that have people taking wagers by phone.
Last year, the contract's restrictions forced Beulah Park in Ohio to sue Breeders' Cup. The racetrack had recently launched an online service called Winticket.com and felt it deserved access to the championship races. Racetrack and Breeders' Cup officials were in court the day before the big event and the issue was quickly settled. Winticket.com customers were granted access.
Mike Weiss, general manager of Beulah Park, said he was glad to have the issue resolved peacefully this year.
"It was a lot of calls, but we got it done," he said. "I'm hoping some of TVG's exclusiveness is dissipating. This is good for the whole industry."
Mark Wilson, TVG's president and chief executive officer, said the agreement actually makes his company's long-term deal with Breeders' Cup stronger.
"Breeders' Cup and TVG reached a business resolution that both parties were agreeable to and that we feel strengthens the value of our exclusive agreement with Breeders' Cup both this year and for its term - or we would not have done it," Wilson said.