11/10/2006 1:00AM

Louisiana horsemen balk at TVG exclusivity


The Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has informed Fair Grounds officials that the broadcast rights from their signal can no longer be used exclusively by TVG.

"We're not trying to restrict TVG from showing Fair Grounds races in any manner," said Sean Alfortish, president of the horsemen's organization. "What we have a problem with is the restrictive nature of their agreement, which does not allow other providers, such as Youbet.com, to take wagers on our product absent an agreement that they would have to make with TVG. TVG only accepts wagers in 12 states, whereas other service providers accept wagers in as many 40 states."

Alfortish said TVG has had exclusive rights to the broadcast of the Fair Grounds signal since 2004, in an agreement entered into by Churchill Downs Inc., its parent company. Alfortish said Louisiana horsemen did not give consent to the agreement and feel it restricts what will be a strong upcoming meet at Fair Grounds.

"In an age where people are increasingly wagering from their homes, it is not of sound financial sense to restrict your signal to certain states, when you want to try to accept wagers nationwide," he said.

"Because this meet is going to be probably the best meet in Fair Grounds history and is expected to take in the highest handle that they've ever done, it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to continue to improve that model for its ongoing success."

Fair Grounds officials were not available for comment on Friday.