05/20/2008 12:00AM

Louisiana horsemen reach deal with Youbet


The Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has reached an agreement with Youbet.com to offer wagering on the signal from Louisiana Downs, the head of the association said Tuesday.

The agreement ends a complete blackout of the Louisiana Downs signal on national account-wagering platforms. The Louisiana HBPA had previously withheld its consent to send the signal to Youbet.com unless the platform and its competitors agreed to provide one-third of the revenue from the bets to purses.

Sean Alfortish, the president of the Louisiana HBPA, declined on Tuesday to provide precise details of the deal with Youbet.com, but said that the terms were "consistent with what we were trying to accomplish." Alfortish also said that he has had discussions about the terms of new deals with Youbet's competitors - TVG, Twinspires.com, and XpressBet - in the hopes that those companies would agree to similar terms.

"This was a deal that I felt should be looked at as direction for the rest of the industry," Alfortish said.

Louisiana Downs opened on Saturday. In previous years, the track's signal has been available on all the major account-wagering platforms.

The Louisiana HBPA is one of a number of horsemen's groups across the country that have blocked or continue to block the export of racetracks' signals to national account-wagering platforms, citing their concern about the distribution of revenues from the bets. The disputes continue to affect the availability of the signals from Churchill Downs, Calder Race Course, Lone Star Park, River Downs, and Thistledown.