A decision by AmericaTAB to sign on with TrackNet Media Group has led the Ohio-based account wagering provider to not renew its contract for access to exclusive content available through TVG. Therefore, wagering on races from eight tracks will not be available effective May 3.
AmericaTAB, which hubs through Oregon, is an umbrella company for wagering sites such as WinTicket.com and BrisBET.com. Affiliated online wagering sites have received TVG-controlled content through sub-licensing agreements.
“We had to make a decision,” AmericaTAB general manager Mike Weiss said April 19, a day after TrackNet Media Group, a partnership between Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Group, announced the AmericaTAB deal. “We had negotiations with TVG, but they weren’t successful. We also negotiated with TrackNet Media and had to decide which way to go.”
TrackNet Media Group sells horse racing content from its stable of racetracks to a variety of domestic and international wagering outlets, including racetracks, casinos, off-track betting facilities, and account wagering companies. It also purchases content from other content producers for distribution to its member racetracks and to account wagering platforms, including MEC-owned XpressBet and twinspires.com, which CDI plans to launch in late April.
Weiss indicated AmericaTAB wasn’t pressured in its negotiations with TrackNet Media. Industry officials have said privately they are concerned CDI and MEC are trying to control the distribution of signals; TrackNet Media officials said they want to foster a free market, not perpetuate exclusivity agreements.
“I’m supporting TrackNet Media’s stance against exclusivity,” Weiss said. “We’re all working together toward the same goal to end exclusive contracts. But there is going to be some tweaking. There will be ongoing negotiations with TVG and TVG-exclusive tracks. It’s going to be an interesting year.”
The TrackNet deal comes at a critical time--less than three weeks before the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Derby day is the biggest of the year handle-wise for most wagering outlets.
The agreement allows customers of AmericaTAB-affiliated telephone and online wagering platforms to watch and wager on this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at MEC-owned Pimlico Race Course, as well as races from Churchill, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, Pimlico, Lone Star Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, and other racetracks offered through TrackNet Media.
In turn, AmericaTAB-affiliated sites will lose--perhaps temporarily--racing from Calder Race Course, Emerald Downs, Hollywood Park, Arlington Park, Los Alamitos, Monmouth Park, Meadowlands, Belmont Park, and Prairie Meadows. Calder and Arlington are owned by CDI but their exclusive contracts with TVG have yet to expire; when they do, those races will be available through AmericaTAB.