04/27/2008 11:00PM

Churchill simulcast available at some sites


The signal from Churchill Downs was available over the track’s opening weekend on account-wagering operations that serve customers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia despite a blackout of the signal on other account-wagering sites.

The exceptions to the blackout have created confusion among horse racing fans who have been prevented from betting on Churchill on most account-wagering sites because of a stalemate between the track’s simulcast-marketing partnership, TrackNet Media, and the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, a company that negotiates simulcasting agreements with tracks on behalf of horsemen.

The two sides have failed to reach an agreement on the export of Churchill’s signal to most sites, resulting in a blackout of the signal on Churchill’s Twinspires.com and Magna Entertainment Corp.’s XpressBet. Churchill opened its spring meet on Friday. Magna is a partner with Churchill in TrackNet.

Scott Daruty, the chief executive of TrackNet, said that horsemen have not objected to the export of the signal to the account-wagering sites that offered the signal on Saturday and Sunday, which included the sites run by New York’s offtrack betting corporations, the New York Racing Association, Philadelphia Park, and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

David Switzer, the executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association – one of two groups representing horsemen in Kentucky that assigned their account-wagering rights to THG – said the sites were excepted because of restrictions limiting bets to in-state customers. THG is seeking one-third of the revenue from account-wagering sites, and in-state wagers are generally subjected to additional payments to horsemen in the form of source-market fees, which in some cases brings the share to one-third of the revenue.

On the larger issues, Daruty and Bob Reeves, the president of THG, said Monday that no progress has been made on getting approval to send the Churchill signal to Twinspires.com or XpressBet. The Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby are expected to be available on Twinspires.com and XpressBet because of contracts reserving the export rights exclusively to Churchill, but the undercard races will be blacked out without a separate deal.