03/31/2009 12:00AM

Keeneland expands account-betting availability


All four major national account-wagering companies will be able to offer their customers the ability to wager on the races from Keeneland Racecourse for the first time during the spring meet, which starts on Friday, Keeneland officials said Tuesday.

Betting on Keeneland's races had previously been limited to Television Games Network and Youbet.com through a long-term contract with TVG. This year, wagering will be available on those two platforms along with Twinspires.com and XpressBet, though TVG will continue to hold the live television broadcast rights for the races, according to Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland. All four platforms will be able to offer live streaming of the races.

The contracts providing the access run for one year, Nicholson said.

"We thought about doing longer ones, but with everything that's going on in the industry, we thought one year would be better," Nicholson said, in reference to the ongoing recession. "We'll get to the end of it this year and evaluate how it worked out."

Keeneland's previous agreement with TVG for account-wagering and broadcast rights expired this year. That agreement assigned TVG the wagering and broadcast rights exclusively, but TVG also reached provided the wagering rights to Youbet.com and other account-wagering companies through sub-licensing agreements.

Many racetracks have sought to expand the assignment of wagering rights to account-wagering companies over the past several years, upsetting a business model pioneered by TVG in which wagering rights were limited to one or more companies.