Simmering concerns over wagering security in the pari-mutuel industry flared up again April 21 with a strong call for independent monitoring and an end to the practice of "past-posting" -- making bets after races begin.
Youbet.com has signed three agreements that will enable its members to watch and wager on racing from South Africa, Sweden, additional tracks in the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico, providing nearly 24-hour-a-day racing coverage.
Hialeah Park received a Quarter Horse permit from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering on March 17, with an apparent mandate to begin that racing by March 17, 2010.
A 187-page bill that passed the Kentucky Senate March 13 includes provisions for a tax break for the Breeders' Cup World Championships if the event is held in Kentucky in 2011 or 2012, or 2011 and 2012.
The Thoroughbred Racing Associations has announced Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as the host city for the 18th International Simulcast Conference. The 2009 conference will be held Oct. 12-14 at the Saratoga Hilton.
The Thoroughbred Racing Associations board of directors has adopted a protocol that establishes industry-wide procedures for tracks to follow in case betting fails to close promptly at the start of a race -- something commonly referred to as "past-posting."
Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois registered gains in average daily total handle for its 2008-09 fall/winter meet thanks to increases in out-of-state wagering. On-track and in-state handle on Hawthorne races declined, however.
The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 is a double-edge sword. And the debate over whether it should be amended continues.
The Bush administration issued a final regulation Nov. 12 aimed at banning Internet gambling, drawing criticism from Democrats who said it would burden financial companies.
Colonial Downs may be looking for a manager to operate its live Thoroughbred and harness meet after releasing general manager Iain Woolnough Nov. 10. It also closed one of its nine off-track betting parlors in Virginia.
Handle at Calder Race Course's recently-concluded Calder meet fell 20% compared with 2007, according to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, which represents owners and trainers at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course, and the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, comprised of horsemen competing at Portland Meadows, have voted to join the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group.
Support for reform of the revenue model for advance deposit wagering continues to increase, but as evidenced Sept. 30 during the International Simulcast Conference, it's looking more and more like a long-term project.
Prominent Thoroughbred Owner Mace Siegel, vice president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, has given $100,000 to support the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group and its efforts to protect live horse racing.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved an innovative new wager between Churchill Downs and racetracks in other states.
Mike Ziegler, most recently vice president and assistant general manager at Hollywood Park, has been named senior vice president of California-based Youbet.com, the company announced Sept. 16.
Michael Konik, author of The Smart Money: How the World's Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of Millions, will address the subject of programmed wagering and offshore booking Sept. 29, first day of the International Simulcast Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Regulators in 13 racing states announced Aug. 4 they will begin the lengthy process of requiring offshore wagering entities and secondary pari-mutuel operations -- commonly referred to as SPMOs -- to obtain certification from the Association of Racing Commissioners International before they receive approval to wager into pools.
Legislation that would eliminate the automatic 25% federal withholding on pari-mutuel winnings of $5,000 or more on wagers of at least 300-1 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives July 29.
Betfair, the Great Britain-based online betting exchange, continues to negotiate with officials in the United States and is inching closer to a deal by which it would compensate horsemen for use of their product.
Gambling sources provide more than $25.4 billion to state and local governments, according to most recent figures, but taxes on pari-mutuel wagering provided just a little more than 1% of that total.
- By Tom Precious
Negotiators in New York the afternoon of June 13 were putting the final touches on legislation in which the state would take control of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., thereby averting a shutdown of the city's betting operations for the weekend.
Churchill Downs will begin testing a new wagering format with on-track customers June 11 that allows patrons to bundle win, exacta, and trifecta plays at a lower price per bet.
With the clock ticking on the closure of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., officials from the Bloomberg administration are stepping up their calls for industry stakeholders to compromise on a bill or face the loss of more than $100 million in OTB distributions.
The Southern Racing Cooperative has a new multi-year deal with the New York Racing Association on signal rates, a cooperative official said.
Calder Race Course and all other Florida tracks are facing the prospect of not receiving the signal for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and its Pimlico Race Course undercard.
The New York Racing Association and the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative have struck a signal-fee deal that will return the NYRA signal--currently from Belmont Park--to 16 East Coast racetracks and their affiliated off-track wagering outlets effective May 9.
Declines in on-track wagering, a dispute with the New York Racing Association over signal fees, and horsemen's refusal to allow six major advance deposit wagering outlets to take its signal has led River Downs to cut purses 15%-18% effective May 8.
Because of the dispute over simulcast fees and revenue, Calder Race Course will not offer wagering on the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), as well as all other races on the two programs.
Another group of racetracks won't be importing the signal from Belmont Park beginning April 30 because they collectively have failed to strike a deal on signal rates with the New York Racing Association.
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board approved a regulation April 28 requiring tote companies to provide for independent monitoring of all pari-mutuel pools effective Jan. 1, 2009. Roughly $3 billion -- one-fifth of total handle in the United States -- will fall under the new monitoring system.
Churchill Downs Inc. has invested $100 million in advance deposit wagering for a reason: The company believes it's the major growth channel for pari-mutuel wagering, as well as a means to drive traffic to the racetrack, CDI president and chief executive officer Bob Evans said.
The Mid-Atlantic Cooperative, which represents 16 racetracks and their affiliated off-track wagering outlets, has failed to reach an agreement with the New York Racing Association on signal rates, which puts simulcast of races from Belmont Park in jeopardy.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said April 16 though advance deposit wagering remains a major issue, it believes there has been progress in other areas of contract talks for the Calder Race Course meet that begins April 21.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has given the new national Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group authority to negotiate terms with advance deposit wagering companies for betting on races at South Florida Thoroughbred racetracks. Also, Florida horsemen want an agreement on slots revenue with Calder before any contracts are signed.
With RCI Integrity Services up and running, the Association of Racing Commissioners International has issued a strong call for the pari-mutuel industry to take advantage of something it believes is a no-brainer: an independent wagering monitoring system.
The Ohio horseracing and breeding industry always seems to be at a crossroads. With 2008 almost three months old, negative trends continue and near-term relief isn't in sight.
When 28-1 shot Cheroot prevailed in a blanket finish in the $98,650 Daytona Handicap, the Feb. 17 feature at Santa Anita Park, it triggered a massive three-day pick six carryover of $1,269,223 for the Feb. 18 holiday racing program.
There may not be imminent decisions in the ongoing debate over high-volume betting shops and computer-assisted wagering. The industry remains split on mechanisms that have increased or shifted pari-mutuel handle, depending on the point of view.
The board of directors of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario has unanimously approved the extension of its current contract with Woodbine Entertainment Group for an additional three years, the organization announced Jan. 18.
Shares of Scientific Games Corp. tumbled to its lowest point in more than three years Jan. 16 as the lottery services supplier reeled from the loss of its third online contract within a month.
The New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. will cease operations June 16 unless state officials provide regulatory relief before then, according to a Jan. 16 report to the corporation's board of directors.
On-track handle at Calder Race Course fell 24% during the 2007 portion of its Tropical meet, according to data obtained from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. Calder's simulcast handle fell 26% compared with the same period in 2006.
Jokes aside, there could be progress on the pari-mutuel pricing front if comments by industry officials are any indication.
The question of whether state legislators should become more involved in pari-mutuel pricing and distribution continues to be asked, and at this point, there doesn't appear to be an answer--at least a definitive one.
The head of a national organization of regulators told legislators Jan. 4 issues related to pari-mutuel integrity and security need "serious attention," and alleged available resources are being neglected.
After cutting its daily purses about 7% in early November, Calder Race Course quietly restored the money during the final weeks of its meet that ends Jan. 2. But questions concerning Calder and other South Florida tracks linger into the new year.
The New York Racing Association has entered into a content exchange agreement with TrackNet Media Group for 2008, NYRA officials said Dec. 28. In addition, NYRA has new deals with TVG and Youbet.com for the upcoming year.
Churchill Downs has announced the dates for the three wagering pools that will comprise the track's 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager and Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
The current pari-mutuel structure has captured the attention of state legislators who will discuss the situation--and whether or not they need to get involved--during the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States winter meeting Jan. 4-6, 2008.
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