Progress Reported in Oregon Negotiations

Progress Reported in Oregon Negotiations
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications
A July 21 mediation session with a member of Oregon Racing Commission yielded no agreement in a standoff between TVG and Portland Meadows on source-market fees, although progress was reported.

According to the ORC, TVG by state law needs to reach an agreement on source-market fees with the track, which is operated by Magna Entertainment Corp., to be in full compliance with the requirements for its hub operating license in Oregon.

“There is not an agreement yet, but Commissioner (Stan) Robson said he was optimistic that the parties would be able to resolve their differences,” said ORC executive director Randy Evers of the commissioner who mediated the session.

Evers said an update on the negotiations will be provided at the next regularly scheduled commission meeting  Aug. 6 in Tillamook, where a three-day fair meet is scheduled. The commission had ordered the mediation session during its July 17 meeting in which TVG and Portland Meadows presented their sides of the argument.

John Hindman, who serves as general counsel for TVG, said all parties agreed to keep details of the mediation session confidential.

“It was a constructive discussion,” he said. “And we are optimistic a positive resolution will be reached.”

Hindman also contends TVG is in compliance with Oregon law regarding a source-market agreement.

"We are complying with all of our legal obligations," he said. "We have plan in place that was approved by the commission in May."

Portland Meadows officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The track claims TVG in June arbitrarily dropped by more than 8% its source-market fees, which are paid on wagers made by Oregon residents through the advance deposit wagering company.

TVG, which had its annual hub license approved in May, has declined to confirm the fee change, but said last year it paid 70% of all source-market fees in Oregon, and was continually evolving its business practices to market conditions.

The dispute looked at one time like it could disrupt the Portland Meadows Fall meet, but Dick Cartney, the executive director of the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, said positive discussions have since taken place with track officials.

"We had a meeting (July 21) and they told us of their intention to get a license to run the Fall meet," said Cartney, who added negotiations on purse contracts should commence in the near future. "They also said they would open up the barn area, but we haven't gotten a firm date on that. But I think we are headed on the right track."

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