The board deferred a decision on the application of Youbet.com because it lacked contractual agreements with the racetracks and TOC. The online betting company is expected to resubmit an application in February. A fourth applicant, Autotote Enterprises, withdrew its application because it was unable to negotiate with any of the state's Thoroughbred tracks, all of which are either owned by Magna or have exclusivity arrangements with TVG.
Landsburg had urged fellow board members to wait until the applicants showed how racing would really benefit from account wagering. He spoke out strongly for more television distribution to "create new heroes."TVG and XpressBet will take completely different paths to the account wagering market. XpressBet, expected to launch Jan. 26 with wagering on Santa Anita, Golden Gate, and Gulfstream Park via the Internet, has 27,000 active account holders from Call-a-Bet, a Pennsylvania-based telephone betting service Magna acquired in April as part of its purchase of The Meadows harness track.
Compared to TVG, though, Magna's initial television audience is minuscule. Magna has about 3,000 satellite subscribers in North America left over from The Racing Network, which closed up shop in 2001. The network broadcasted races from numerous tracks but didn't have a dedicated wagering system."That's about 1,000 less than they drew on track at Santa Anita last Wednesday," Gary Biszantz, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said of Magna's audience.Santa Anita does have a one-hour cable TV show on FOX Sports West in Southern California.TVG can be seen by 750,000 subscribers to the DISH Network in California, and about three million people nationwide. TVG has started signing up digital cable systems to operate its interactive wagering program, using a remote control to place bets, TVG president Mark Wilson said.Adelphia Communications, with 100,000 customers in the west Los Angeles area, announced the addition of TVG Jan. 23.Related Story: Statements From Account Wagering License Applicants
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