Wagering Task Force Holds First Meetings

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Wagering Systems Task Force, which was created to find out why total purses dropped in 2003 even though national handle increased, held its first meetings Thursday and Friday in New York City at the offices of Giuliani Partners.

The NTRA brought on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's firm and others to conduct a systematic review as to why purse levels did not keep pace with handle last year.

During the task force's initial meetings, factual information relating to recent wagering and purse trends were discussed as well as preliminary objectives for the task force, according to an NTRA press release. Additional areas of inquiry and requested staff work were also identified.

Among the areas to be studied by the task force are changing wagering patterns (on-track to off-track), the proliferation of rebating, signal piracy, betting exchanges, and reduction in "churn" due to computer-assisted wagering.

Giuliani Partners is participating in the study along with National Economic Research Associates; Richard Cirillo, the NTRA's antitrust counsel; and an intellectual property specialist.

NTRA, Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club, and Keeneland have provided the initial funding for the study. NTRA deputy commissioner Greg Avioli serves as the task force's chairman.

The task force's next meeting most likely will take place in mid-April in Lexington.