CHRB Begins Exchange Wagering Rule Process

Proposed regulations advanced for 45-day review period in California.

Proposed rules for operation of exchange wagering were approved for a 45-day public comment period by the California Horse Racing Board during its meeting March 22 at Santa Anita.

Commissioners did not address any of the initial 25 regulations during the meeting, nor did not accept comments from the public on them. Chairman Keith Brackpool emphasized that the board was only making the proposed rules available to the public for written comments that can be addressed to the CHRB. The earliest any vote could be taken is at the board's May 24 meeting at Golden Gate Fields.

Exchange wagering allows bettors to wager against each other on individual horses to win or lose using advance deposit wagering services. It was signed into law in the state last year. Last August, the board approved a notice requesting written comments and studies on exchange wagering, a popular form of betting in the United Kingdom, with the intent of developing rules governing the practice.

In February, the board's committee on exchange wagering held a first public hearing. The concept received support from TVG-Betfair, which sponsored the legislation, and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. But it received far more negative comments from industry stakeholders, including the organizations representing owners, trainers, and jockeys.

"We have an obligation to propagate a full set of rules and regulations," explained David Israel, the board vice chairman and a member of the ad hoc committee. "It doesn't mean we are approving exchange wagering."

In other action, the board approved a 50-day race meeting for Betfair Hollywood Park from April 25 to July 17. The track, which recently approved naming rights for Betfair in a five-year agreement, is to regularly race four days per week on a Thursday through Sunday basis.

Brackpool announced that the board plans to begin its race date allocation process earlier this year and urged racing associations to respond with their requests as soon as possible. He said he will be part of a working committee group of industry representatives to examine long-term dates planning as well. He said a report on where the process is going should be ready in May or June.

The board extended the ADW license for TwinSpires in California through the end of 2012 after its parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., reached agreement with the Jockeys' Guild on a disability insurance dispute. Darrell Haire, western regional manager for the Jockeys' Guild, thanked the board for its support of jockeys.

Rick Baedeker, manager of mini-satellite development for Southern California Off-Track Wagering Inc., said he expects to have three more applications for such wagering facilities for the board's consideration this year. He said the three existing mini-satellite locations in Southern California are experiencing growth.