Oregon Hub Handle Sets Another Quarterly Record

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's operation of wagering hub in Oregon met with much resistance from some of its member racetracks at the beginning of the decade, but one thing's for certain: The concept has caught on, even though the NTRA is no longer a player.

Handle through five account-wagering services in third quarter of 2003 in Oregon totaled a record $224.9 million, up almost 61% from the third quarter of 2002, according to figures provided by the Oregon Racing Commission. The total is almost 10 times the amount wagered in the third quarter of 2001, when only four services operated hubs in Oregon.

The five services--America TAB, Oneclickbetting.com, TV Games Network, US Offtrack, and Youbet.com--handled $222.2 million in the second quarter of this year. Handle was up only $2.7 million from the second quarter the third quarter, but the third quarter is traditionally slow. (The Visa Triple Crown series falls in the second quarter, and the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in the fourth quarter.)

Youbet.com, a partner with TVG, led the way with $70.1 million in third-quarter handle, followed by TVG with $64.1 million, Oneclickbetting.com ($58.5 million), America TAB ($27.5 million), and US Offtrack ($4.4 million). All but Oneclickbetting.com, which is tied to The Racing Channel and takes bets from Europeans on races in the United States, set quarterly handle records in the third quarter of this year.

NTRA Services operated a hub in 2000 and the first half of 2001 on behalf of TVG and received a percentage of revenue. When some members balked, the NTRA got out of the hub business, and TVG took over.

The state racing commission receives one-quarter of 1% of money wagered through the hubs as a pari-mutuel tax. One-third of the amount is given to the state general fund, and the remaining two-thirds to the Pari-Mutuel Industry Development Fund.

So far in 2003, more than $603 million has been bet through the hubs. The state has realized more than $1.5 million through the hub tax from January through September.