Youbet, AmericaTab to Carry All Magna Tracks
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 12/23/2004 12:18:35 PM
Last Updated: 12/23/2004 1:16:35 PM

Youbet.com and AmericaTab, two online wagering companies, will again be able to offer races from all Magna Entertainment Corp.-owned racetracks under agreements announced Dec. 23.

In late 2003, MEC adopted a policy that greatly restricted access to its products through account wagering providers. Youbet.com was permitted to only offer wagering on Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park, the two California tracks owned by MEC. AmericaTab and its partners couldn't even carry the California signals.

The deals include live video feeds.

"This agreement is great news for both Youbet customers and shareholders," Youbet.com chief executive officer Charles Champion said in a release. "Negotiating acceptable terms was paramount to Youbet's agreement to offer the totality of Magna's content so that our customer base can once again watch and wager on virtually every important horse race that the sport has to offer in 2005, including all three legs of the Triple Crown."

"This is great for everyone involved, and it marks a renewed spirit of cooperation in the industry," Charlie Ruma, managing member of AmericaTab, said in a prepared statement. "This is good for the industry and to the horseplayer who wants a full selection of tracks to wager under one account."

Details of the contracts weren't released.

MEC has its own online wagering platform called XpressBet. Earlier this year, MEC president Jim McAlpine said the move to cut off account wagering services and some rebate shops was an effort to "restructure the pricing model" in the pari-mutuel industry.

Youbet.com and AmericaTab will begin taking the Santa Anita Park signal on opening day, Dec. 26. Gulfstream opens Jan. 3. Access to those two tracks was greatly limited last winter because of the MEC policy.

MEC officials met with representatives of other tracks and wagering companies during the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing in Tucson the week of Dec. 6 to discuss partnerships. MEC has publicly expressed an interest in working with other groups in the industry to further the sport.

AmericaTab affiliates include WinTicket.com, BrisBET.com, TsnBET.com, BetHarness.com, MyRaceBet.com, Thoroughbets.com, and WatchandWager.com. BetBarn66 launched in December as the newest affiliate in the program. HipĆ³dromoEnLinea.com is a Spanish-speaking specific Web site that falls under the AmericaTab umbrella.

The majority owners of AmericaTab are Beulah Park and River Downs, two racetracks in Ohio.

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