07/08/2008 11:00PM

Del Mar in account-wager talks


A nine-month experiment that allows the four account-wagering providers licensed in California to take bets on all of the state's racetracks may end with the conclusion of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting on Sunday, leaving the customers of two providers - XpressBet and Twinspires - unable to bet on Del Mar when that track opens on Wednesday.

Racing officials, executives of the account-wagering companies, and some members of the California Horse Racing Board met on Tuesday at Santa Anita to seek a continuation of the experiment. No resolution was reached, but some executives were expressing optimism that an extension is possible.

As it stands, only Television Games Network and Youbet.com customers will be able to bet on Del Mar's races. Del Mar officials have said in the past that they would like the more expansive experiment to continue, allowing bets from XpressBet and Twinspires customers. Wednesday, Del Mar's executive vice president, Craig Fravel, declined to elaborate on the status of the negotiations.

"I don't want to discuss the business negotiations in the newspapers," Fravel said. "We're continuing to have meetings. Hopefully, we can reach a satisfactory resolution."

The experiment began with the start of the Hollywood Park fall meeting last November and continued through the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting and the current Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. During that time, handle through account-wagering sources has showed continued growth, track officials said.

Account wagering is the only growing segment of parimutuel handle, making up for lower figures ontrack and through satellite facilities.