TVG and Portland Meadows have until July 21 to work out an agreement on source-market fees, or face the prospect of unspecified sanctions by the Oregon Racing Commission.
The standoff between the warring parties, which could compromise the Portland Meadows Fall meet, was not resolved during a July 17 meeting of the commission. ORC executive director Randy Evers said the commission approved a motion to set the July 21 deadline for resolution to the issues, which have resulted in Portland Meadows not opening its backstretch area to horsemen as a self-proclaimed cost-cutting measure.
Evers said TVG and Portland Meadows have until July 20 to work out their differences themselves, with Commissioner Stan Robson offering to mediate a last-ditch session in Portland July 21 if needed.
“Our goal is to try and help them reach a source-market agreement, so that we can get the backside open and have a race meet in October,” Evers said. “Our goal is certainly not to punish anyone, but to reach a mutual agreement and move forward.”
Evers said he couldn’t discuss specific sanctions if the dispute isn’t resolved, but when pressed, acknowledged that one option could be to serve notice to TVG that it intends to suspend its hub operational license. TVG and other ADW heavyweights such as Youbet.com, XpressBet.com, Twinspires.com, among others, use the Oregon hub system to process wagers through a central location.
“Our administrative rules require that a source-market agreement must be in effect,” he said. “But I want to be clear, the commission said it “may be forced to pursue disciplinary action,” but it doesn’t say against whom, and it doesn’t say what the discipline could be.”
Portland Meadows, which is operated by Magna Entertainment Corp., said TVG in June arbitrarily dropped by more than 8% its source-market fees, which are paid on wagers made by Oregon residents through the advance deposit wagering company. TVG, which had its annual hub license approved in May, has declined to confirm the fee change, but said last year it paid 70% of all source-market fees in Oregon, and was continually evolving its business practices to market conditions.
According to minutes of the June commission meeting, Portland Meadows did not object to TVG receiving its license in May because the track believed it had a "historical agreement" that would be extended through the 2008-2009 licensing period.
In other commission action from the July meeting, annual hub licenses were approved for both Youbet.com and AmWest Entertainment. Both companies had failed to gain needed approval at the June meeting: Youbet.com for the lack of a source-market agreement with Portland Meadows, and AmWest Entertainment because of concerns over cash rebates.