Fair Grounds president Bryan Krantz has been appointed the United States representative for an overseas online wagering and interactive television wagering company.
Attheraces, an ambitious new company in the United Kingdom, announced at the University of Arizona's Symposium on Racing that it had hired Krantz as its agent in negotiating simulcasting contracts with U.S. racetracks. The company is a partnership that includes Arena Leisure, a technology company that also owns six U.K. racetracks; B Sky B, the largest digital TV company in Britain; and a racing network called Channel 4. Earlier this year, the partnership acquired the video and audio rights and pre-race data for 49 racecourses in the United Kingdom for 307 million British pounds, which it will pay out over 10 years.
Initially, Attheraces expects to offering racing from the Fair Grounds and two or three other U.S. tracks when it launches its Internet wagering site later this month, according to Scott Finley, the company's North American development manager.
"What's in favor of all this is that there is no product to bet on in the evenings in Britain," he said. "Fair Grounds' time zone is perfect." The racetrack's 12:30 p.m. post time would be see at 6:30 p.m. in London.
While Krantz will receive a commission for his work, he said the position provides a great opportunity for Fair Grounds to tap into an international exchange of racing products.
"This is a building block for the future," he said. "I think the domestic market is flat. Our simulcast revenues have maxed out and this is the next step. This is part of our overall Internet strategy."
Fair Grounds has already ventured into the international market place by offering Australian racing. He said the races draw as much interest as top-class harness racing or mid- to lower-tier Thoroughbred races. Australian races attract an average of $15,000 a day and $25,000 a day for marquee events like the Melbourne Cup, according to Krantz.
Attheraces hopes to launch a new racing channel through the B Sky B basic digital satellite service in May, and expects to offer interactive television wagering some time next year.
"Our main objective is to modernize and demystify the presentation of horse racing," said Glyn Williams, commercial director for Attheraces.