Wagering Systems Task Force Prepares Report

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Wagering Systems Task Force, formed to study why handle is up but purses are down, plans to release its report in August, officials said.

The task force met June 29-30. It was formed earlier this year by the NTRA board of directors.

Business at the meeting included an update on industry-wide wagering technology improvement initiatives, reports from representatives of United Tote and Las Vegas Dissemination Co. on computerized wagering capabilities and policies on access to wagering pools, a written report from Racing and Gaming Services on its business practices and contributions to pari-mutuel handle in the United States, a study of handle migration trends from live to simulcast over the last decade, updates on federal law enforcement issues, review of proposed legislation to prohibit unauthorized wagering on U.S.-based simulcast signals, and additional reports from representatives of the NTRA, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau.

RGS is a high-volume betting shop based in the Caribbean that employs a hub in Lewiston, Maine. RGS and other betting shops offer rebates, which were a topic of discussion by the task force. The panel also looked at signal piracy, betting exchanges, and offshore bookmaking.

"At this stage, we have a comprehensive analysis and are gaining a better understanding of handle trends and the cause and effect for the 'handle up-purses down' phenomenon that the industry has experienced over the last few years," said Greg Avioli, NTRA deputy commissioner and chairman of the task force. "We're in the process of converting that understanding, along with additional research into specific wagering patterns suggested by the task force, into actionable recommendations."

The task force has more than 30 members, all of which were asked to sign confidentiality agreements.