Ohio HBPA Strikes Account Wagering Deals

Edited press release

The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has approved the transmission of Thoroughbred signals from Ohio to the TV Games Network and XpressBet, and also approved the sending of the signal from Thistledown to Youbet.com. However, it has failed strike a deal with AmericaTAB, the account-wagering company owned by Ohio interests.

The Ohio HBPA and several of the larger account-wagering companies signed initial agreements last year that substantially increased contributions to horsemen's purses, according to a release from the horsemen's group. Those initial agreements were up for re-negotiation this year.

"The Ohio HBPA feels strongly that purse money earned from Ohio residents wagering on Thoroughbred horse races should be contributed to Ohio Thoroughbred purses," the release said.

Under the new agreements, XpressBet will pay the normal host fee to host tracks in Ohio. In addition, XpressBet has agreed to expand a primary source-market fee area from 25 to 50 miles, payable on Thoroughbred wagers only. The change will move more of XpressBet's account-holders into the geographic area where a higher source-market fee is achieved for local tracks and horsemen's purses.

"Five years ago, advance deposit wagering accounted for only 4% of handle," Ohio HBPA executive director Dan Theno said. "It now accounts for 20% and is growing. Unless ADW firms pay a fair share into purses, there will be fewer owners and trainers in the business, smaller foal crops, shorter field sizes, and a downward spiral in handle. The agreement with XpressBet is fair to Ohio tracks and Ohio horsemen."

The Ohio HBPA said it awaits a deal with AmericaTAB, which hubs through Oregon but is owned by Beulah Park and River Downs, two Ohio tracks.