Wagering on Tampa Bay Downs’ 83rd live meet, which opens Dec. 13, will be available to most advance deposit wagering outlets, the Oldsmar, Fla., track announced Dec. 12.
Among the ADWs expected to receive the signal are TrackNet Media Group-related entities Twinspires.com and XpressBet.com, which are owned respectively by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp, as well as TVG, the track said. Additionally, Tampa Bay Downs racing will be broadcast in some fashion on both TVG and HRTV, which is jointly-owned by CDI and MEC.
Youbet.com, which makes up the final member of the national “Big Four” ADWs, is continuing negotiations, the track said (Youbet's Web site lists Tampa Bay Downs on its Dec. 13 schedule).
“We are delighted to have Tampa Bay Downs racing available on TVG, HRTV, and other online wagering platforms, and look forward to providing a quality product for customers nationwide to enjoy,” Peter Berube, vice president and general manager of Tampa Bay Downs, said in a news release.
Industry watchers have kept an eye on what signal developments would come out of Tampa Bay Downs, an independently-owned track. The Tampa Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which holds federally-authorized consent rights for the track’s signal distribution, is a member of the national coalition called the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, which has been negotiating on behalf of many of its members.
A few THG members have broken rank in recent months, including in Louisiana, where the state HBPA consented to signal deals for Fair Grounds that apparently varied from the national one-third revenue sharing model. Tampa HBPA president Bob Jeffries did not respond to recent calls and e-mails from The Blood-Horse seeking comment about signal negotiations.
But it’s apparent the Tampa HBPA did not use the THG in signal negotiations. THG president Bob Reeves said in a telephone interview last week that his group was not involved in the Tampa situation.
“It’s something they have done on their own,” Reeves said of the Tampa HBPA. “They are members of ours, and we’ve had discussions with them, but I have not been part of any negotiations. They have a good relationship with Tampa Bay for many years. It’s one of the few places where the handle growing.”
Though average all-sources daily handle declined slightly last year to $4,084,508 from a record total of $4,106,164 the year before, off-track handle on the track has more than doubled in the last several years, The Blood-Horse has reported. Wagering at simulcast and ADW outlets produced a daily average of $3.4 million in both the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 meets; it was about $1.6 million in the 2001-2002 meet.