04/08/2017 3:03PM

Horsemen reinstate TwinSpires' OK to take California bets

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The Thoroughbred Owners of California on Saturday morning restored their consent to TwinSpires.com taking bets from California customers on California races just hours before one of the biggest cards on the Santa Anita racing calendar, the top official for the organization said.

Greg Avioli, the chief executive of the TOC, said the decision to restore consent followed the installation of an update by TwinSpires to its app and its mobile-betting platform that will ensure any bets made by the company’s customers onsite at a track will be treated as on-track wagers for the purposes of revenue-sharing.

“We are happy they have complied and will now be treating those bets as on-track, like all other account-wagering companies,” Avioli said.

Earlier in the day, TwinSpires said that it planned to allow its California customers to bet on races at California tracks Saturday, citing the update. The Saturday card includes the Santa Anita Derby, one of three major Kentucky Derby prep races scheduled across the country Saturday.

The TOC withdrew its permission for TwinSpires to take bets from California customers on state races on Thursday afternoon, citing the company’s alleged non-compliance with a directive to pinpoint the location of its customers when they place bets.

In December, as a condition of getting the organization’s approval to accept wagers in the state, the TOC had directed all account-wagering companies to implement geo-location technology in their systems in order to apply on-track revenue formulas to wagers placed by the companies’ customers on-track. The TOC gets a higher share of bets from on-track wagers than from bets flowing through account-wagering operations.

After the Thursday decision by the TOC to withdraw its consent, Twinspires continued to maintain that it was in compliance with a contract with the TOC, even though the company acknowledged that it was working on a “technical change” requested by the TOC. The company said Saturday that any bets made through the TwinSpires system at a California track will be treated as an on-track bet for revenue-sharing purposes from now on.

The TOC filed a complaint with the California Horse Racing Board on Friday claiming that TwinSpires had violated federal and state laws protecting the rights of horsemen to approve simulcast signals when TwinSpires failed to block its customers from placing the bets on Thursday and Friday. Avioli said that the TOC would no longer pursue any action under the complaint, but he said the CHRB was free to issue any penalties under the complaint if the board pursued it independently.

“We’re going to leave that be from here,” Avioli said.