Indiana Law Leads TVG to Close Accounts

Legislation that became law July 1 has resulted in the TV Games Network closing the accounts of all Indiana residents.

The law makes unlawful professional gambling over the Internet a Class D felony. John Hindman, TVG vice president of communications and general counsel, said the action was taken due to the lack of clarity in the new law and how it applies to account wagering.

"Due to the change in state law creating uncertainty on the validity of wagers placed over the Internet, we are closing all accounts with Indiana residents." Hindman said.

Hindman said Indiana residents with TVG accounts were notified via correspondence of the decision. While TVG wouldn't disclose the number of Indiana residents with accounts, Hoosier Park president Rick Moore said the new law would significantly hurt the Indiana racetrack's business, as well as purses for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing.

Moore didn't have specific figures regarding the financial impact but admitted TVG has served Hoosier Park well in providing exposure for both breeds.

"From what I understand, people enjoy watching us on TVG," Moore said. "Churchill Downs was a founding partner, and we have provided content from the beginning."

Churchill Downs Inc. is majority owner of Hoosier Park, whose races are offered through the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network.

Hindman described the situation in Indiana as a "pretty unique circumstance" and said all affected parties will need to work with the state's General Assembly next year to clarify how the law applies to pari-mutuel horse racing.

"In this session, (the legislation) went through the Senate 46-0," Moore said. "We'll try to get an exemption next legislative session."

Moore said TVG would continue to show Hoosier Park races. The track recently concluded a 61-day harness meet. Thoroughbred racing will begin Sept. 3.

Races from Indiana's other racetrack, Indiana Downs, aren't shown on TVG, nor does the company offer wagering on the track's races.