Authorities Target International Issues

Worldwide concerns over the pirating of racing signals and unauthorized Internet wagering in jurisdictions that don't return revenue to horse racing have prompted leaders of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities to recommend formation of a new organization to deal with those and other challenges.

The recommendation followed Monday's day-long meeting at the 34th annual conference of the federation, which traditionally is concerned with issues such as international classifications and the transport of foreign horses. The meeting was held in France.

The international law firm Dewey Ballantine, commissioned by a number of leading federation members, proposed the new organization in a report by attorneys John Keitt, Kevin Dempsey, and John Magnus. The report said a new organization could deal with several challenges, including the global branding of racing with implementation of a "good bet" seal of approval, the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and the setting up of roadblocks to Internet pirating of signals.

The Dewey Ballantine report said the new organization could be patterned after the World Semiconductor Council, created in 1996 with members from European Union, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S.

The council is concerned with the reduction of tariffs and taxes on e-commerce, development of harmonius regulations, and reforms that would allow fans to wager using new technologies. In addition, it supports international commingling of pools and common approaches to regulate Internet gambling.

Hans Stahl, president of The Jockey Club of the U.S. and an officer of the federation, said: "I do believe we need to move fast with the correct organization."

Said Peter Savill, chairman of the British Horseracing Board: "We need a very strong executive to drive this. We need to get on with this, and get on with it quickly."

Additional speakers included Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr., who presented a report on coalition-building. He was introduced as vice chairman-elect of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which is in the process of consolidating with Breeders' Cup.

Tom Aronson, who handles international development for the TV Games Network, expressed his company's interest in being a provider of racing on an international scale.