01/20/2011 9:47PM

California Horse Racing Board approves licenses for three account-wagering services


ARCADIA, Calif. – The California Horse Racing Board on Thursday approved licenses for the three account-wagering services operating in the state – TVG, Twinspires.com, and Xpressbet.com – through the end of 2011. However, the CHRB made the Twinspires and Xpressbet licenses contingent on the completion of horsemen’s and labor agreements in coming weeks.

The Twinspires application was passed pending an agreement with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and approval of the racing board on a hub agreement, or a contract providing compensation for bets placed by California residents on races outside the state. They also must reach an agreement with the parimutuel employees labor union on employment issues and reaching a simulcast agreement with California tracks.

The racing board said the absence of a labor agreement within a month could force commissioners to rule on the subject at its monthly meeting in March.

The Xpressbet application was contingent on labor agreements with subcontractors and also could be a subject at the March meeting, if not resolved at that date.

At the start of the lengthy discussion on account-wagering companies, Scott Daruty, president of Monarch content management, which negotiates simulcasting rates on behalf of California tracks, said that the three account-wagering companies had agreed to forward toward purses all revenue generated from an increase in takeout on exotic bets placed on California races by California-based customers.

Following legislation passed last year, takeout on exotic wagers was raised from 20.68 percent to 22.68 percent on two-horse bets and to 23.68 percent on bets involving three or more horses on Jan. 1 to help increase overnight purses.

Daruty clarified that simulcast locations and account-wagering services outside of California who conduct wagering on races in California have agreed to pay at least 50 percent of the additional revenue back to California purses. After the meeting, Daruty said the account-wagering services were paying more than 50 percent but not the full 100 percent. He did not disclose specific percentages.