Horsemen hashed out the issue of high-volume bettors and rebates Jan. 13, and in the process got a fairly detailed look at their impact on pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing in the United States.
There may not be imminent decisions in the ongoing debate over high-volume betting shops and computer-assisted wagering. The industry remains split on mechanisms that have increased or shifted pari-mutuel handle, depending on the point of view.
The topic of late odds changes continues to shadow the pari-mutuel industry.
Betfair, the rapidly growing exchange-wagering provider based in Great Britain, believes it could provide up to $50 million in new revenue for itself, racetracks, and horsemen by 2008 should it be permitted to operate in the United States.
Canterbury Park, which opens May 7, will not make its live racing signal available to five wagering outlets located in and outside the United States.
The New York Racing Association will shut off its signal to an additional six wagering outlets, claiming it has no assurances from the companies about their ownership and customer base.
As the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Wagering Systems Task Force prepares to hear recommendations on ways to address the "handle up, purses down" situation, operators of high-volume betting shops believe they might be a target and suggest that, as generators of up to 15% of annual handle in North America, they should be directly involved in the process.
California regulators decided Feb. 20 that they will hold off on considering a cutoff of wagering at post time from betting through the Lewiston, Maine simulcast hub, which processes wagers for rebating giant Racing and Gaming Services.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, in an effort to thwart what it believes is a growing problem with the piracy of signals and subsequent loss of revenue, plans to discuss the possibility of operating its own offshore wagering hub.
California Horse Racing Board chairman Roger Licht said he favors changing state law to allow the pari-mutuel industry to pay rebates to its customers.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is trying to track where signals go and whether horsemen are getting the revenue to which they're entitled. Comments made during a Jan. 28 workshop indicated that process has a long way to go.
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