11/24/2006 1:00AM

No Fair Grounds on Youbet.com


Youbet.com, the online betting service, is not currently offering Fair Grounds on its wagering menu because it has failed to reach an agreement with Television Games Network on licensing fees. TVG has an exclusivity contract with Fair Grounds, and Youbet must pay TVG a fee to carry the track.

The issue nearly prompted the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association to withhold the Fair Grounds signal from TVG. The horsemen's group agreed to allow TVG to offer the Fair Grounds signal less than two hours before the meet's first race Thursday, according to the association's president, Sean Alfortish. Alfortish said TVG had offered "a better deal" in order to settle the dispute, but that the horsemen would still like to see Youbet carry the track's races, as it has done in past meets.

Julie Koenig Loignon, a spokeswoman for Churchill Downs Inc., owner of Fair Grounds, said CDI wasn't actively involved in current negotiations concerning the Fair Grounds signal.

"It's not really our issue," Koenig Loignon said. "We've done everything we needed to do to have Youbet carry Fair Grounds."