Racing Services Defends Action to National HBPA

Lawyers for Racing Services Inc. have requested a meeting with officials of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association following a memorandum distributed to HBPA affiliates earlier this month that called into question the business practices of the North Dakota-based wagering hub.

A consulting firm hired by the National HBPA, Stevenson & Associates, reported up to 24 betting shops in Juarez, Mexico have taken bets on races from the United States through the "potentially unauthorized" use of TV Games Network signals. Churchill Downs Simulcast Network and TVG subsequently issued "cease-and-desist" letters to Racing Services.

A letter sent last week by Racing Services to Doug McSwain, general counsel of the HBPA, requests the two entities discuss the matter at the HBPA executive committee meetings--slated for Las Vegas in late September--"given the numerous inaccurate statements made in the report."

Racing Services previously told the HBPA it believed it had an agreement with TVG and if there was a misunderstanding, it was in good faith. In its latest letter, Racing Services told McSwain the company's wagering platform has continually given proper compensation to horsemen and tracks for the signal.

"Through RSI's entire history in the United States as well as in Mexico and Venezuela, it has always operated in accordance with this principle foremost in mind," the letter reads.

Meanwhile, it was recently learned the attorney general of North Dakota is undergoing an investigation into whether Racing Services underreported its handle figures to avoid paying taxes. This follows an audit by the North Dakota Racing Commission that found Racing Services owed $1.5 million in back taxes. Racing Services was told to pay the money by Aug. 15 or risk losing its license.

Susan Bala, founder and chief executive officer of Racing Services, recently told the Blood-Horse that Racing Services fell behind on the payments because many tracks around the country were late in making their payments to the company.