No ADW Issues Evident at Hawthorne
by Ryan Conley
Date Posted: 9/24/2008 3:29:46 PM
Last Updated: 9/25/2008 2:31:47 PM
Four Footed Fotos
While signal distribution at racetracks continues to be a hot topic in the horse racing industry, that doesn’t appear to be the case at Hawthorne Race Course, which opens its meet Sept. 26.
“It’s actually a cold topic here,” said Hawthorne’s simulcast coordinator John Walsh, who told The Blood-Horse Sept. 24 all necessary contracts and consents have been approved for the Chicago-area track's fall meet.
Walsh said the Hawthorne signal will be going out to all major advance deposit wagering companies -- the providers of Internet and telephone wagering that, along with horsemen and tracks, have been the focus of a battle this year over revenue-sharing plans.
“I don’t think there is a place out there that is not going to be able to bet Hawthorne,” Walsh said, noting such companies as Twinspires.com, TVG, XpressBet and Youbet.com.
Attempts to contact representatives of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which represents Chicago-area horsemen, weren’t immediately successful. Recent editions of the group’s newsletter, “ITHA Winnies,” have opined on the current ADW situation as not being beneficial to horsemen.
The Illinois THA isn’t a member of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, a national consortium of 19 owner/horsemen’s organizations. Negotiations led by the THG have resulted in consents being withheld for some ADW signal distributions, actions which have resulted in lower handle and purses at certain tracks.
Walsh claims he has had discussions with local horsemen about the THG’s objectives, which include a mandated one-third share of wagers made through ADWs.
“Horsemen are on both sides,” he said. “They believe they should get bigger percentages, but realize there may not be a percentage of any kind to get if these companies go out of business.”
Hawthorne has been active this year in entering into new deals with such companies as TVG and Youbet.com:
In January, Hawthorne and certain other Illinois tracks announced a deal with Youbet that will possibly lead to a new ADW platform once appropriate legislation is passed in Illinois. The other tracks include Fairmount Park and Illinois harness operations, Balmoral Park and Maywood Park
In March, Hawthorne entered into a multi-year agreement with TVG, which ended an 18-month hiatus between the two parties. In the deal, TVG regained broadcast rights to the track, but allows signal access to other ADWs in return for a "television fee."
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