HBPA Again Targets Revenue Leakage, Signal Piracy

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association continues to study the problems of offshore wagering and signal piracy and leakage, and hopes to have a plan in place by the time it meets for its winter convention in late January.

The National HBPA executive committee met in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 20-21 to discuss simulcasting and related issues, said John Roark, the organization's president. No definitive action was taken, but Roark said the National HBPA, with help from attorneys, would look into forming an industry betting hub that would have the necessary revenue-protection measures in place.

Roark said horsemen don't want to operate a hub, but they would like to see one that guarantees proper return of revenue to purses and racetracks. National HBPA officials have said they believe tens of millions of dollars might be falling through the cracks because signal leakage and piracy.

"We're going forward with the next step," Roark said. "We're going to sit down (with operators) and say, 'We're going to discourage you from doing this. Here's what we've learned. Do you have a reason to be doing this? Are you willing to pay the money you owe us and the tracks without litigation? If not, we'll do everything in our power to stop your operation.' "

The process has begun. Roark said a National HBPA task force has been formed, and officials already have met with some offshore providers, including those in Great Britain, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

"We just want to make sure they know the horsemen in this country are tired of being ripped off," Roark said.

The National HBPA last year hired Stevenson & Associates to serve as a consultant. The company has horsemen, racetracks, and offshore providers as clients. Roark said there is no conflict of interest on the part of Stevenson & Associates because the company and the National HBPA agreed to avoid such situations when the contract was signed.

During the Las Vegas meetings, the National HBPA executive committee also decided to again push for at least a loose coalition of horsemen's organizations in the country. Roark said there are many issues they all have to address, and that working together on them makes sense.