Youbet Hopes for Deal to Restore All MEC Signals

Youbet.com said Dec. 30 it hopes to strike a deal with Magna Entertainment Corp. to offer wagering on all the company's racetracks.

MEC on Dec. 26 issued restrictions on all account-wagering providers that prevent them from taking bets on races at company-owned tracks. Youbet.com did receive permission to offer wagering on MEC's two California tracks: Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park.

Youbet.com has an agreement to carry MEC's California signals, including Bay Meadows, for 2004. MEC will not accept bets from Youbet.com customers at its other tracks in the United States.

Youbet.com chief executive officer Charles Champion said the company hopes to work with MEC to reach agreements that would give Youbet.com customers access to all MEC tracks.

Champion said his company's customers tend to value content frequency as much as- or more than content breadth, and Youbet customers will have the best content options in the business despite Magna's decision.

"As a result, many of our customers may simply choose other tracks to wager on rather than log off Youbet to go to track-specific sites," Champion said.

One of the signals not available through Youbet.com is Gulfstream Park, which is owned by MEC. That signal is available through Xpressbet, MEC's account-wagering arm. Some account-betting companies such as a AmericaTab aren't allowed to take wagers on any MEC tracks.

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