Updated on 10/03/2012 1:19PM

Arc de Triomphe pools will be available to North American bettors


North American residents will be able to wager directly into the parimutuel pools at Longchamp in France on Saturday and Sunday for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe festival in a deal worked out by AmWest Entertainment.

The agreement is the first ever to give North American bettors access to parimutuel pools in an overseas country, according to simulcasting officials. In other instances in which North American residents bet on overseas races, separate pools were set up to commingle the wagers.

AmWest, a simulcast services and account-wagering company launched in 2007, reached the deal with Pari-Mutuel Urbain, which aggregates parimutuel bets on horse racing throughout France. The deal will cover the 15 races scheduled this weekend as part of the Arc festival. AmWest will provide the Longchamp video signal along with bet-processing services to account-wagering companies and bricks-and-mortar simulcast sites within North America, according to Nelson Clemmens, AmWest’s chief executive officer.

French parimutuel bets, including exotics, are similar to U.S. bets. Last year, $60 million was bet on the 15 races on Arc weekend, according to AmWest, or about $4 million per race. If separate-pool wagering was being offered on the races, the pools would be a small fraction of the French pools. The smaller the pools, the less that big bettors are willing to wager into them.

“We’re hoping to see a sophisticated wagering segment attempt to target the pools now,” Clemmens said, speaking from France on Wednesday morning.

Saturday’s Longchamp program has a first post of 7:20 a.m. Eastern, while the Sunday program will begin at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

While this is the first time that North American bettors will wager into French pools, the PMU has had an agreement to commingle its bets into the North American pools for the Breeders’ Cup races for the past 15 years.