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.
- 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.
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.
Oaklawn Park raises the curtain on its 54-day meet Friday in the heart of Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. The oval first saw racing in 1905.
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.
TVG, the 24-hour interactive horse racing network, announced Wednesday its television network will be included in the digital cable television service for select Los Angeles area cable systems owned and operated by Adelphia Communications.
At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering in California was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their applications. With the exception of Youbet.com, which declined to submit a statement, the responses can be viewed at the following links.
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.
Applications from four companies seeking to offer account wagering in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board on Jan. 24.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- TVG isn't the only one getting hurt by the impasse with Magna over account wagering in California.
Racing and breeding news and information.
Talks between Magna Entertainment and the TV Games Network are over, according to TVG president Mark Wilson, who has been negotiating with Magna chief executive officer James McAlpine in hopes of striking a deal to bring Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and other Magna tracks to TVG's racing and wagering network.
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.
Mark Wilson, president and CEO of TVG, has issued a lengthy statement in response to widely-reported comments made by Jim McAlpine, President and CEO of Magna Entertainment Corporation, at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program's "Symposium on Racing."
Magna Entertainment president Jim McAlpine told racing industry leaders Thursday that their best chance to compete against Las Vegas and Disney, which he says are horse racing's true competitors, is by making industrywide deregulation and the adoption of free enterprise a top priority. And as Magna prepares to launch its own online and telephone account wagering service in California, McAlpine urged TVG to abandon its exclusive contracts with racetracks and merge its content with Magna's tracks and others.
Magna Entertainment president Jim McAlpine told racing industry leaders Thursday that their best chance to compete against Las Vegas and Disney, which he says are horse racing's true competitors, is by making industrywide deregulation and the adoption of free enterprise a top priority.
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.
The TV Games Network's parent company reported a 13.5% increase in net loss for the third quarter ending Sept. 30. The increase in losses was attributed to charges related to the merger between Gemstar and TV Guide in July 2000 and to higher operating expenses.
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.
Robert Fell has stepped down as chief executive officer of Youbet.com, an online horse racing and wagering company, and will be replaced by two men. Vice presidents Ronald Luniewski and Phillip C. Hermann will share CEO duties.
The Television Games Network can legally handle account wagers in Maryland, according to the state racing commission.
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.
TV Games Network and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association are offering daily replays of TVG's "The Works: Breeders' Cup 2001" on the Internet. Meanwhile, TVG will broadcast a top night of Quarter Horse Racing from Los Alamitos Oct. 20.
Adding to a weekend line-up that already features the grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup, TVG announced it will once again broadcast the Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe live from Longchamp Racecourse outside of Paris on Sunday, October 7.
Miscellaneous racing news
Thoroughbred racing and simulcasting at major locations in the United States shut down Tuesday due to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Many also planned to close Wednesday. The commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said it could take a while "to sort out the implications for the country, as well as our business."
Miscellaneous racing industry news
Youbet.com today announced the opening of its new Oregon wagering hub. The new hub allows Youbet.com customers access to racetracks previously available only through the TV Games Network. Along with the new hub, Youbet has adjusted its price. The service now charges a fee per transaction instead of a monthly fee.
Gemstar-TV Guide International posted a second-quarter net loss of $134.8 million (33 cents per diluted share), primarily because of the $223.8-million amortization of intagible assets recorded as part of the acquisition of TV Guide.
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.
The Oregon wagering hub first operated by NTRA Services and now in the hands of the TV Games Network handled $13,033,508 for the second quarter of this year, more than double the first-quarter handle and by far its best three months ever.
As the California horse racing industry awaited action by Gov. Gray Davis on account wagering legislation, the TV Games Network and Thoroughbred Owners of California announced they had reached an agreement in principle to protect purses should live handle be negatively impacted by account betting.
Simulcast handle at most Kentucky racetracks has fallen or remained static in each of the past several years. An exception has been Keeneland, which experienced nine consecutive years of growth through 2000, when the amount wagered on simulcasts topped a record $104 million.
The TV Games Network debuted on basic cable television in the Lexington market in late December of last year. And for the first six months of this year, handle on simulcast-only days at Keeneland is down more than $4.7 million from the comparable period last year.
Youbet.com will begin taking bets through its new Oregon wagering hub in August, a month earlier than expected. Once the hub is operating, customer can beginning wagering on racetracks once offered exclusively through the TV Games Network. Youbet.com is anticipating significantly higher revenue by the first quarter of next year.
For more than three hours Monday night, the Keeneland July yearling sale was beamed into the homes of people who can access the TV Games Network either on cable television or by satellite dish. It was somewhat of a breakthrough for the auction end of the business, which generally gets little exposure away from sale pavilions.
Until TVG's show "The Sales" aired on July 1, the best way for a buyer to prepare for a sale without visiting the farms selling yearlings was to sit down with a sales catalogue and a sales supplement. This all changed with TVG's new program, a preview of the Keeneland July 2001 selected yearling sale. It highlights the yearlings offered at this sale like no advertisement or pedigree page could ever do.
New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. falling into the hands of a consortium led by Magna Entertainment would be "an affront" to the entire racing industry, the head of the New York Racing Association charged.
The Nasdaq National Market has informed Youbet.com, Inc. that the company is now in compliance with listing qualifications and will not be dropped from its listings.
The TV Games Network became available today to 40,000 Comcast cable television subscribers in the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is the first time TVG has been available on a cable system outside Kentucky.
From a preview show to the sale itself, TVG will offer live coverage and analysis of the 2001 Keeneland July Selected Yearling Sale. Caton Bredar will report on all events from the Keeneland Sales Pavilion with hosts Todd Schrupp and Frank Lyons in the Los Angeles studio. The live sale broadcast will run July 16-17 from 7-10 p.m. EDT.
The Oregon Racing Commission on Friday approved an application by the TV Games Network for to operate a wagering hub. Currently, TVG wagers run through a hub operated by NTRA Services, a subsidiary of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and marketing partner of TVG.
NTRA Services will not renew its license to operate a wagering hub in Oregon. Instead, the TV Games Network, for which the National Thoroughbred Racing Association subsidiary operates the hub, is expected to apply for the license itself.
Youbet.com, an online horse racing and wagering site that has burned through more than $64 million since 1998, expects to begin turning a profit in 2002. The company also expects to have more than 20,000 subscribers by the end of the year.
Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. and Adelphia Communications Corp. have signed a 20-year Interactive Program Guide agreement that could feature a major expansion of the TV Games Network. Gemstar-TV Guide is the parent company of TVG.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- The recent agreement between the TV Games Network and Youbet.com looks like a win-win-win-win situation for the racing industry.
The Nasdaq stock exchange notified Youbet.com officials Tuesday that the company still fails to meet its minimum price requirement and is subject to being delisted. To remain on the exchange, Youbet.com stock needed to trade about $1 per share for 10 consecutive days before Monday.
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