06/03/2012 7:47PM

Betfair TVG officials miffed at TOC stance on exchange betting


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The decision by the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California last week to table a vote on implementing exchange betting for at least a year was met with dismay and anger by officials with Betfair TVG, who said over the weekend they will continue to pursue implementation of the new form of wagering.

Stephen Burn, the chief executive officer of Betfair TVG, said he was given only a brief warning last Friday that the TOC would not support starting exchange betting for the upcoming Del Mar meeting, which runs from July 18 to Sept. 5.

Betfair TVG and Del Mar had hoped to launch exchange betting this summer, pending approval from the TOC, the state’s official representative of horsemen in the state, and a completion of the rulemaking procedures by the California Horse Racing Board.

“It was a surprise to find out (the decision) on Friday after months of close negotiations with the most senior members of the TOC,” Burn said in a phone interview on Sunday. “We thought we were working well.

“At some point, I hope for a fuller explanation to better understand.

“We’ve been talking for some time and in good faith. We think there will be exchange wagering at some time.”

The TOC board opted not to take a vote on whether to implement exchange betting, which allows customers to post odds and accept wagers on whether a horse will win or lose a race. Exchange betting has grown in popularity in England in the last decade; Betfair has the largest exchange betting website in that country.

Betfair TVG officials said they may pursue exchange betting with other breeds.

Burn said no conversations have been held with Los Alamitos officials on exchange betting on Quarter Horse racing, but, “I wouldn’t rule it out.”

“We would like to work with other states or breeds that will work with us,” he said.

In a statement released late Friday, the TOC said it will not take up the issue of exchange betting for a year. There has been widespread concern from trainers that they could be scrutinized for alleged wrongdoing through exchange betting, particularly when a horse is bet to lose.

Burn on Sunday reiterated a position that Betfair TVG made in a statement released over the weekend, saying that California racing will miss out on revenue from exchange betting. In its statement, Betfair TVG called the TOC decision, “A bleak day for California racing.”

Friday, the TOC stated its support for a reciprocal agreement between the Frank Stronach-owned HRTV and TVG for the two television networks to share the exclusive signals they each control. In California, HRTV has exclusive rights to races from Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita, both Stronach-owned tracks, while TVG has exclusive rights to Del Mar and Hollywood Park.

Burn said that previous discussions between Betfair TVG and HRTV about reciprocal agreements were unsuccessful. He said that the absence of HRTV on many cable and satellite providers makes such an arrangement difficult.

“I have never heard from (racing fans) that they can’t see Hollywood Park or Del Mar,” he said. “We can talk about parity when HRTV has the same distribution as TVG.

“We are spending millions of dollars to ensure that our pictures are more widely distributed.”

At an open forum for members at Hollywood Park on Sunday, TOC chairman Mike Pegram said he wanted reciprocal telecasting agreements to be part of future licensing agreements for racetracks.

“Hopefully, we’ll get this stalemate eliminated,” he said.

Burn did not attend the forum and declined to comment on Pegram’s statement.

Walter Toner More than 1 year ago
One last thought...it might be interesting if New Jersey beats CA to the punch and offers a different model....perhaps one operated exclusively to the benefit of the horsemen.
Allan Weston More than 1 year ago
Exchange wageringing is great for the bettor. You get fixed odds. Unlike pm where big bettors who bet late skew the pools.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
multiple UK champion, multiple Derby winning jockey Kieron Fallon made front page news when it was alleged that he held horses.....if a millionaire, champion jockey can be tempted, what about the journeymen who make 25k per year?? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-486675/Champion-jockey-Kieren-Fallon-threw-27-races-2m-betting-scam.html
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If Betfair get into the USA, I predict these things: 1. massive reduction in revenue from tote betting 2. massive front page news scandals about jockey, trainers and owners "losing intentionally" for profit (as has happened on numerous occasion in th UK) 3. massive reduction in purse money (on par with UK racing which is about $4k per race)
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
let me answer all 3 of your predictions. 1. How can there be "massive" reduction in revenue from tote betting when there is scarcely any tote revenue? And if there is more money brought in from new exchanges, who cares? 2. Front page news? Even when Churchill Downs favorites were caught with sponges up their noses (cant blame that on exchanges), that didn't make front page news. Only time horse racing makes front page is Triple crown races, or a super story like Zenyatta. There are hundreds of incidents in the past 20 years of race cheating where horses were held back, so don't pretend exchange wagering is going to corrupt a snow white pure sport. Cheating is cheating, and if you dont think there's cheating now, you're delusional. 3. Most tracks have their purses subsidized by casino money, so how is there going to be a "massive" reduction in purses when the primary sources of purse money is barely affected? And here's a novel idea. If exchange wagering brings in tons of new players and viewers, you just might attract some advertisers. PGA golf and Nascar seem to get decent purse money, and they don't get a dime from pari-mutual wagering.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lets look at a race going off 5 minutes from when I'm writing this. The 3rd race at Finger Lakes. BetFair has trading for this race for it's international customers. Its a 6 horse field going 5f. First, lets look at the prices I could have gotten a $50 bet on the six entries through the trading exchange: 1. +720 2. +660 3.+360 4.+470 5. +3000 6. +230 The race is 1 minute from post right now, $30,000 traded at BetFair, $10,000 bet through the pari-mutual.................... Race is over, final amounts : BetFair traded $35,000, pari-mutual $28,000. Now lets look at the final payout prices for the same 6 horse through the pari mutual track pool. 1. +475 2. +550 3. +270 4. +305 5. +2240 6. +190 3 things should become evident with this comparison. 1. The horseplayer gets MUCH better payoffs on his wins, which simply means, he wins a lot more money when he wins, and that translates into a BIG difference in his yearly bottom line. 2. If people outside of the United States, who can bet on anything can generate $35,000 in completed trades for a Monday race at FingerLakes, what does that tell you? 3. The pari-mutual pool had $10k in win bets with 1 minute to post, and closed with $28k in win bets. Don't you think horse players get tired of late money changing the odds drastically at the last minute at these smaller tracks? How could anyone ever seriously make win bets to try and make a yearly profit in this matter?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
first of all, of the 35K, only 17.5k was "traded"...Betfair "double the figures". Secondly, most of the money "traded" is computer generated.....Computer programmers have "bots" which flip bets as the prices rise and fall.....the commissions generated for the race tracks would be minimal, mostly at the expense of the pari-mutuel pool. It's cannibalism. Betfair make big money through the 60% premium charge (which tracks get no part of), their cross-bet match computer program (which tracks get no part of) and through their casino (super-slots, arcade, live casino, exchange games)....also which the tracks get no part of.....
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
From the reaction I get, you could have some form of exchange wagering as an option, keep the pari-mutual pools, and 90% of the players who like pari-mutuals will still bet through the pari-mutuals. They don't care about value or prices because if they did, they wouldn't be regular players. Exchange wagering will attract NEW players, not siphon away the current ones, because the current win pool bettors are either recreational, or suckers. These are the same type of people who will bet American Roulette at a casino, when 40 feet from them is a European Roulette table with 50% less rake. Good lord, would it really be such a bad thing to just TRY it at a month long meet at DelMar? It's pretty hard to do much damage to a sport that's on it's deathbed.
Dean More than 1 year ago
I'm all for it as I'd love to lay on some of these chalks plus get fixed odds on winners but let's face it we the big money is in exotic wagering just look at the handles. Exchange wagering is WIN only and this does not stimulate wagering dollars. I hope it gets approved so there is another option available but can't see this being as huge as TVG would like us to believe. OH and I have to bash TVG on air host's...ESP Gino and the Sarge you know the old saying empty barrels make the most noise!!!
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
Exotic wagering will always be more popular because the recreational player wants bigger payouts for a small bet, and smart gamblers understand that a wagering pool with more combinations is the only way to somewhat combat high takeouts. Once you get exchange wagering with low margins, win betting will be 5x+ what the exotic pools are. Sometime, take a look at the volume BetFair players in Europe generate trading on tracks like Emerald Downs or Delaware Park.
David More than 1 year ago
It is refreshing to see that Betfair monitors all stories written about them, so that they can attempt to 'set the record straight' in the comments that follow - LIKE THIS SHILL "Jack Brandt"! Great job Jack - you keep spinning the rhetoric and maybe someday in 2025 exchange wagering will become legal. But until then, keep plugging away. Quarter Horses you say? Well. that's another cold day in hell. But hey, perhaps your enemies (Like the ovely Bo Derek) on the CHRB will take your THREAT? to take your wonderful product to the single A ball. Would serve you right - take you little toy to the minor leagues to prove your worth before being called up to The Show. However, they are no more likely to approve of you than the Major Leagues. Wow! The golden era of win betting is on its way back? And low margins is the way to it? Hmm...horizontal betting has taken over, due to the lottery like payouts on $.50/combo. Until you can somehow provide that type of wager:payour ratio, I wish you well. Say, when was the last time a P4 was offered at Ascot, Longchamp or Flemington? Right, that's what I thought. NEVER. So your 'European Punters' still betting in the parking lots with bookies taking just Win wagers wouldn't know an exotic wager if you handed it to them. Your level of dishonesty is not helping the cause.
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
Horizontal betting has taken over? Pretty silly to say any type of existing wagering has "taken over" when almost nobody plays this sport anymore. Most tracks are on their death beds, and the ones who are a little healthy are only that way because of state forced subsidies from casinos, who have to throw them some money in order to operate at all. Poker used to be a dying sport considered something only old men played (like horse racing is considered now). Most casinos took out their poker rooms because it was a waste of space. Then this new technology produced internet poker, and PokerStars mastered it, and in just 10 years, millions of new players began playing, and many made it their livelihood. While there are many reasons it took off, the biggest one was that with a low-rake product, players could actually win consistently playing other players, and that alone draws players who will try it, some succeeding, some failing. The reason no one plays win pools, is very simple, they're not beatable in a high rake pari-mutual. If you create an environment where players can make money, trust me, you'll get players. And I'm hardly a shill son, I'm a gambler who grew up around horses and horse racing, and it kills me to see what could be such a wonderful game for bettors be killed due to government and horseman greed. I'm a poker player, and I have to move to Costa Rica because of government intervention on behalf of lobbyists who took away our game, just like they did to horse racing many, many years ago. I'd love to be able to handicap 5 and 6 horse fields at a track like Emerald Downs and try to make a profit on the meet, but since my IQ is over 70, there's no point in trying with a heavy raked pari-mutual that rarely gets over 25k in a win pool. Heck, it's not even worth it if I play off shore and get a 10% bonus to the payout. I have the same enthusiasm when I talk about Pinnacle Sports and their low margin approach to sports wagering, so I guess you would consider me a shill for them too. Fact is, I'm for free and open markets because THATS HOW PLAYERS GET THE BEST PRODUCT AND RATES. Anyone that could ever defend horse racings current system of robbing the players blind is obviously a sucker, which is sadly the only regular players they have left.
John Howland More than 1 year ago
Betfair has been lobbying for some time now to get sports gambling legalized in the U.S.If that became a reality,horse racing would take a beating,simply because there are only X amount of gambling dollars people have and if gamblers could bet football legally on a weekend,they would even consider the ponies.When it comes to promoting horse racing in the U.S.,I've always felt that Betfair were just wolves in sheep's clothing
pippen 0707 More than 1 year ago
So keep everything as is so the PLAYERS get screwed over and over. We pay tax or takeout when we place a bet and if we happen to win a bet that pays 300-1 or better. This current system is not going to attract any new players period! I am not a fan of TVG but I happen to like the innovative system (exchange wagering), that in my opinion is for the PLAYER! Who cares how much Betfair is going to profit off exchange wagering as long as the Player is paying less than the current system we have now. 10% is a whole lot better than 16%, 18%, 22% or 25%.
pippen 0707 More than 1 year ago
Exchange wagering is not going to replace the current draconian tote systems we have now, it will be another medium for the player to choose from. If you do not like it, do not participate in it, its simple!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you really believe there is anyone in the United States that can't find a way to bet on a football game? If by some miracle there were a few, I guarantee they've never bet on a horse race, and never will. Please try to use a little intelligence and thinking before you embarrass yourself and waste others time with ridiculous scenarios.
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
John, you are so right! BETFAIR is a mirage. And in England, right now, racing figures that its not getting its fare share from the action...despite all of the sponsorship, which we all know companies would rather indulge in than pay taxes. Make no mistake...let BETFAIR in and they'll clean out North American sport...not just horse racing.
milezinni More than 1 year ago
Maybe Betfair TVG needs the commissions on exchange wagering to afford High Definition?
mikey More than 1 year ago
Watching TVG is painful.the guy's are clown's. They talk about where they went to dinner and how good the place took care of them.When i watch i turn the sound off.The owner's of TVG need to watch HRTV AND GET RID OF MOST OF THE CLOWN'S.Exchange betting is not going to save racing or get the young kid's out of the poker room's.Racing need's to play the game the same way first.Uniform rule's are needed real bad to save the game.
Walter Toner More than 1 year ago
Integrity? Account wager aka exchange allows every transaction to be monitored. And Betfair has been vigilant in prosecuting suspicios wagering patterns. Pool wgering is unmonitored. Wherever there is wagering (or investing) there will be shenanigans. Account wagering gives authorities better to tools to monitor.