Recent approval from the Massachusetts State Racing Commission of the TVG network and Magna Entertainment's XpressBet system means bettors there soon will be able to sign up for account wagering with either provider.
The California Authority of Racing Fairs (CARF) has became the state's only racing association to complete agreements with all three licensed advanced deposit wagering companies.
The "Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act" cleared the House Judiciary Committee June 18 after removal of provisions that permit states to legalize interstate wagering and the horseracing industry to continue business legal under the Interstate Horseracing Act.
XpressBet Betty, the English-only voice recognition system, is the latest innovation in home account-wagering technology from Magna Entertainment Corp. It allows phone bettors to place wagers by simply speaking, and works without need of a live operator.
TV Games Network and AmericaTAB have signed a patent license and content agreement that allows AmericaTAB to accept wagers on TVG's exclusive partner tracks, and implement TVG technology.
Officials with Hollywood Park and the Thoroughbred Owners of California struck a deal April 23 on revenue splits for wagers made on the track's races. The Hollywood Park spring meet opens April 24.
Good weather and the introduction of account wagering helped Santa Anita Park exceed $1 billion in total handle for the third time in five years.
In a deal that will give it exposure in a major market, TV Games Network has reached a two-year agreement to exclusively air live Southern California horseracing on FOX Sports Net West (FSN) and FOX Sports Net West 2 (FSN2).
An attempt to legalize account wagering and expansion of off-track betting outlets in Virginia failed by a one-vote margin on Wednesday.
While California horsemen fret over the risk of customer cannibalization as a result of account wagering, Woodbine Entertainment officials say they have found just the opposite to be true: Televised racing drives wagering.
Youbet.com has been licensed by the California Horse Racing Board to offer account-wagering services to residents of California, effective immediately. Meanwhile, through Feb. 18, account-wagering handle through two other systems topped $5 million in the Golden State.
The Thoroughbred Owners of California is using a deal with Magna Entertainment as leverage in an attempt to garner a greater share of pari-mutuel takeout from account wagers made through the TV Games Network. In question is a share of the money TVG pays to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Despite not being able to take bets on the two California Thoroughbred tracks currently operating, the Television Games Network said it is running neck and neck with competing account wagering entity XpressBet on total telephone and Internet handle for the first 12 days of legal advance deposit wagering (ADW) by California residents.
Data from California's first six days of legal account wagering shows an average daily handle of $139,850 on all breeds of racing. The handle is less than 1% of the state's total average daily handle.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Concern for the racing fan and the industry doesn't appear to be driving some of the decisions regarding account wagering in California.
Magna Entertainment stock hit a new 52-week high of $10.25 Friday morning. The Canadian racing conglomerate stock price has been on a steady march upward since mid-January when it was trading for around $7 per share. Churchill Downs and Penn National keep trading at a premium on the heels of a Bear Stearns report on account wagering.
In an open letter to the California Thoroughbred industry, Thoroughbred Owners of California chairman Jack Owens said the organization has taken its "stewardship role very seriously" in regard to account wagering, and said its agreement with Magna Entertainment is a "critical benchmark" for negotiations with other companies.
Magna Entertainment Corp. said it would pay a racetrack partner in its new XpressBet account wagering system up to 60% of the takeout if the bet is placed with a 25-mile radius of that track.
Account wagering offers Thoroughbred racing its best opportunity yet for real industrywide growth, according to a new report from Bear, Stearns, & Co. The 128-page report analyzes the regulatory and technological environment governing account wagering, and offers suggestions about what changes must occur for account wagering to expand.
XpressBet, Magna Entertainment's revamped Internet and telephone service for in-home wagering, was "overwhelmed" by applications from prospective customers during its launch Jan. 26-27, a top company official said.
Woobine Entertainment Group has extended its telephone wagering services to patrons of the Flamboro Downs harness track, about 40 miles south of Toronto.
The California Horse Racing Board has granted licenses to two companies to offer account wagering effective immediately, and betting will begin. But the licenses are time-sensitive, and some deals with horsemen remain in limbo.
Broad legislation that removes impediments to the pari-mutuel industry cleared a Senate committee by a 7-1 vote Jan. 23. Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Stolle, the bill delegates regulatory control of racing dates, provisional licensing, and account wagering to the Virginia Racing Commission.
Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from Magna Entertainment:
Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from Autotote Enterprises:
Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from ODS Technologies' TVG operation.
With the California Horse Racing Board only days from ruling on four applications for license to conduct advance deposit wagering, it isn't clear where three of the state's major tracks -- Santa Anita Park, Bay Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields -- are going to have their races televised.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- TVG isn't the only one getting hurt by the impasse with Magna over account wagering in California.
The majority owner of a growing account-wagering service based in Ohio said exclusive contracts that govern betting could cripple the pari-mutuel industry at a time when it is poised for explosive growth. The comments came on the heels of a spirited debate between the TV Games Network and Magna Entertainment over exclusivity, an issue that won't go away.
The clock ticks for the arrival of account wagering in California, and it may keep ticking well into the new year. The earliest the state's racing fans can expect to be able to open accounts and begin telephone or Internet wagering is mid-February 2002, but depending on how well the regulatory review process goes, wagering might not occur until some time in May.
The Virginia Racing Commission may take a more active role in regulating horse racing if the recommendations of a blue-ribbon committee are implemented. The panel suggests a need for more off-track wagering facilities, elimination of a law that mandates 150 live racing dates by 2006, and addition of account wagering.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Account wagering can only move forward in California with approval from the organization that represents owners.
The Thoroughbred Owners of California released an open letter dated Dec. 15 that lists its priorities as California moves toward account wagering early in 2002.
Alan Landsburg believes account wagering can do a lot of good for California, but only if is it used to introduce a new audience to horse racing. Otherwise, it "will be little more than a pinky in a crumbling dike," the California Horse Racing Board chairman said.
With the California Horse Racing Board giving final approval last Friday to regulations for advance deposit wagering, Youbet.com is gearing up to begin taking wagers in the state once it is legal in January 2002.
The long-winding process of making legal account wagering part of California's horse racing landscape got a quick approval Friday, Nov. 30, from the state Horse Racing Board.
AmericaTab, an online wagering company owned by two Ohio racetracks -- Beulah Park and River Downs -- has added Northfield Park to its stable. The northern Ohio harness track has been approved as an equity partner in AmericaTab by the Oregon Racing Commission.
When California introduces account wagering, the TV Games Network will be ready for a full assault. Perhaps the last great frontier for the home-wagering revolution, the Golden State represents a golden opportunity for TVG when advance-deposit wagering becomes legal in the state Jan. 1, 2002.
Miscellaneous racing industry news
With the possibility of account wagering in California as soon as Jan. 1, officials at Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of three major racetracks in the state, is keeping its plans quiet -- for now.
Congressman Robert Goodlatte on Thursday introduced the Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act, which he said is designed to crack down on the problem of illegal off-shore gambling. A release from Goodlatte's office said illegal off-shore gambling "sucks billions of dollars per year out of the U.S. economy, serves as a vehicle for money-laundering, undermines families, and threatens the ability of states to enact and enforce their own laws."
Handle through the TV Games Network's Oregon hub was $12,414,106 for the third quarter of 2001, almost triple the amount wagered during the third quarter of 2000 but down slightly from the second quarter of 2001.
An agreement struck over the weekend will allow all online and telephone account wagering services to put the World Thoroughbred Championships on their menus Oct. 27.
At its monthly meeting at Meadowlands Wednesday, the New Jersey Racing Commission said it is prepared to advertise regulations regarding account and off-track wagering, the first step toward implementation since legislation was signed into law in August.
Youbet.com on Wednesday posted a loss of $3.2 million, or 17 cents per common share, for the second quarter of 2001. Meanwhile, revenue for the second quarter rose 14% to $1.7 million compared with the same period last year, and handle derived from the company's subscriber base increased 8% to a record $28.4 million for the second quarter, compared with $26.3 million during the same quarter in 2000.
Now comes the hard part. With Gov. Gray Davis' signing of Assembly Bill 471 on Aug. 13, California will soon usher in account wagering as well as see the unionization of racetrack backstretch workers. But how? The approval of the legislation, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2002, is only the first step in a lengthy process.
California Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 471 into law on Aug. 13, authorizing advance deposit wagering and including provisions that will allow backstretch workers to organize for collective bargaining purposes.
California Gov. Gray Davis on Monday signed legislation that authorizes account wagering and calls for the unionization of backstretch workers at the state's racetracks. And the racing industry couldn't be happier.
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