03/26/2004 12:00AM

Attheraces likely to shut down


Attheraces, the racing channel in Great Britain that has been providing live broadcasts of British races into homes since 2002, is expected to go off the air on Monday because of financial difficulties.

An official of Attheraces said it has been unable to meet its partner tracks' expectations for handle through its account-wagering system, Betattheraces, because of reluctance by many bettors to open new accounts.

Attheraces, a partnership of Sky Television, Channel 4 Television, and Arena Leisure, reached a deal with 49 racetracks in 2001 to broadcast the tracks' races. The deal was worth 307 million pounds to the racetracks.

A statement issued by the managing director of Attheraces, Ian Hogg, said the channel would continue to negotiate with the tracks on an extension to the agreement until the scheduled blackout date. But Hogg said that "there is little chance" a deal will be reached.

Attheraces still plans to broadcast U.S. races at night free of charge, the statement said, and will continue its account-wagering system.