09/11/2006 11:00PM

Arlington signal cut


Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of Arlington Park, denied two on-line wagering companies, Youbet and AmericaTAB and its affiliates, which include Brisbet, the track's simulcast signal on Tuesday. The move deepened the ongoing dispute between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemens' Association, Hawthorne Race Course, Television Games Network (aka TVG), and Youbet.

Arlington spokespeople referred questions concerning the blackout on Tuesday, closing day of its 2006 meet, to Churchill Downs Inc. A Churchill spokesperson did not return repeated calls for comment Tuesday. Youbet declined to provide a representative to comment. A Youbet account agent read a statement saying that the Arlington signal was not available because of "continuing issues with Illinois horsemen and TVG."

The Illinois horsemen have declined TVG permission to broadcast the Arlington signal since last Wednesday. Until Tuesday, however, Arlington remained available on other online wagering platforms. Churchill has a longstanding relationship with TVG.

Representatives for Illinois horsemen say their group is trying to force negotiations between TVG and Youbet over a user fee that Youbet must pay TVG to carry the upcoming Hawthorne meet. Hawthorne signed an exclusivity agreement with TVG last winter.

Faced with an additional TVG charge to carry Hawthorne races, Youbet dropped the track during its summer harness meet and does not plan to carry the fall Thoroughbred meeting.

Justin Cassity, executive director of the horsemen's association, said a Youbet blackout of Hawthorne could cost horsemen $500,000 in purse money.