The Racing Channel Plans International Wagering

The Racing Channel, an online handicapping and odds service with links to Philadelphia Park's Phonebet service, was granted approval to operate a "multi-jurisdictional simulcasting and interactive wagering totalizator hub" in Oregon. The approval includes an international marketing service that would take wagers from the United Kingdom through legal bookmakers.

The Oregon Racing Commission, which approved the hub license in late December, noted during the meeting the procedure is similar to track-to-track, merged-pool simulcasting.

Bill Hogwood, president of The Racing Channel and a top official with Greenwod Racing, which owns Philadelphia Park, was on hand in Oregon for the commission meeting. Steve Barham, executive director of the Oregon Racing Commission, said he visited Philadelphia Park to take a look at the operation and the technology it employs. He recommended approval of the license, according to the meeting minutes.

Also on hand was John Dixon, one of Hogwood's colleagues. Dixon said wagering on horse racing in the United Kingdom is a $6 billion a year business. According to the meeting minutes, Dixon said American racing falls into "an ideal time zone in Europe because afternoon product here is evening product in the UK and Europe, and there is very little quality racing in the UK and Europe during that time frame."

Dixon said The Racing Channel has an associated company with a television show that broadcasts U.S. racing overseas.

Under the wagering plan, providers would accept bets on American races, send them through the Oregon hub and pool them at the host tracks in the U.S. The service could be up and running by February, officials said. Hogwood last year said the company intended to offer American races to foreign markets.