California will embark on an eight-month experiment Nov. 7 that will allow all advance deposit wagering providers in the state access to all Thoroughbred signals.
Following negotiations in recent weeks involving the Thoroughbred Owners of California, Hollywood Park, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park, TVG, XpressBet, TwinSpires.com, and Youbet.com, the parties reached an agreement that commences with the opening of the Hollywood Park and Golden Gate fall meets and runs through July 13, 2008, closing day of the Hollywood Park spring/summer meet.
That means, for example, wagering on the popular Santa Anita winter/spring meet will be available through TVG, though HRTV will have the broadcast rights. TVG has an exclusive wagering arrangement with Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita, but not the Magna Entertainment Corp.-operated Los Angeles Turf Club.
“I am pleased that the stakeholders within the California racing industry have reached an accord that will permit non-exclusive ADW wagering," Richard Shapiro said Nov. 5 in a statement. “During this eight-month experiment, fans wagering on California racing will be able to use the licensed platform of their choosing. Television will continue to be exclusively provided by either TVG or HRTV, depending on agreements with tracks and horsemen.
“I want to personally thank each of the parties for allowing this ADW experiment to become a reality. I know it was not easy. I appreciate that each and every party gave up something to make this happen.”
Pari-mutuel exclusivity has become a bone of contention in the industry across the United States. Horsemen’s groups said earlier this year they want all wagering providers to have full access to signals, though they can live with television exclusivity.
TOC president Drew Couto in a statement described the experiment as “the next step in the evolution of California ADW. We’ve been asking for non-exclusivity for years. We believe this arrangement will benefit the entire industry. It makes slight adjustments to the hub fees and provides for payment of broadcast fees to the television broadcast partners. We believe this is going to be a great starting place for needed change.”
“The new model provides for a larger revenue stream to tracks and horsemen,” said Jack Liebau, president of Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows. “It also allows for a track to continue having an exclusive television provider. Hollywood Park will continue its exclusive television arrangement with TVG, and Bay Meadows will become an exclusive TVG track as far as television broadcasting is concerned.”
Santa Anita and Golden Gate, owned by MEC., will continue their exclusive television arrangements with HRTV, which is 50% owned by MEC.