Companies Combine on Simulcasts in South America

Four companies have joined forces to expand the international wagering market, beginning with a racetrack and its off-track betting outlets in Brazil.

Charlson Broadcast Technologies, AmTote, and BLB Inc. have developed a program whereby patrons in the South American countries of Brazil and Venezuela can wager on international horse and Greyhound racing. All foreign currencies will be converted to United States dollars before they enter the common pools, according to a Charlson release.

Kentucky-based Charlson, at one time owned in part by Churchill Downs Inc., was a pioneer in developing graphics for simulcast transmissions but since has expanded into wagering technology. AmTote is a Maryland-headquartered tote company partly owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. BLB purchased Arapahoe Park and other betting facilities in Colorado earlier this year. Carnegie Cooke & Co. owns the Brazilian turf club and the exclusive rights to offer international simulcasts at its track and affiliated betting outlets.

Charlson has developed an international wagering terminal that functions as a point-of-sale terminal that accepts and cashes wagers and generates multiple video displays of odds, exotic payoffs, results, and changes. The terminal can print translated program information from Equibase and interface with sports and lottery systems where legal, the release said.

"We tested the (terminals) in Peru for more then a year before completing installation at the racetrack in Campos, Brazil," Charlson chief executive officer Cary Charlson said in the release. "Our international initiative has benefits to both foreign and U.S. racing interests. The foreign horseman will benefit from a percentage of revenue in their respective markets. U.S. racing interests are likely to see a sharp decline in foreign bookmaking as the better, commingled product with guaranteed payouts gains acceptance."

Since the partnership with CDI ended in 2003, Charlson has focused on the development of software and technology that provides greater financial opportunities for racing interests in foreign countries, the release said.

MEC and CDI last year announced a partnership whereby they would work to expand the international simulcast market. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association through its legislative activities has made growth in international common-pool wagering one of its goals.