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.
A report by the New York Office of Inspector General to Gov. Eliot Spitzer lists four "general areas of concern" among the four entities seeking the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, including relationships with rebate shops and bookmakers who take bets on racing from the United States.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association may look for ways to pursue legal action to stop signal piracy and recover what they believe is their fair share of revenue from wagering on Thoroughbred racing.
International Racing Group, a rebate shop located in Curacao but owned and operated by United States-based Youbet.com, was licensed by the Oregon Racing Commission Nov. 2, and is the first such entity to be licensed by U.S. regulators.
Offshore wagering services issued statements Sept. 13 expressing unhappiness with the way rebate shops were portrayed in a report that led to dismissal of charges against the New York Racing Association.
Churchill Downs Inc. has suspended its business relationship with wagering services named in an indictment over alleged illegal gambling and race-fixing, and also is tightening standards for all account wagering services that take signals from the company's racetracks.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has endorsed a white paper on simulcasting and also heralded its support of industry efforts to police the sport in the wake of federal indictments in New York.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's board of directors will decide Jan. 18 whether to endorse an updated "white paper" on simulcasting, but it won't decide--at least for several months--its position on high-volume rebate operations.
Total Thoroughbred purses increased 3.42%--mostly from a limited number of sources--in 2004, while total handle on Thoroughbred races run in the United States declined less than 1%, according to a year-end "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" report released Jan. 12.
The task force formed to look at why handle is up but purses are down ended up producing a report that tackles other issues such as disclosure of information from wagering outlets, technological limitations in tote systems, and the need for a secure database of wagering information.