12/12/2008 1:00AM

Tampa Bay reached account-bet deal

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Tampa Bay Downs, which was to open for a 94-day meet Saturday, reached agreements on Friday for its signal to be carried on all four major account-wagering platforms, averting the kind of blackout that has affected race meets around the country this year.

The agreements will allow Television Games Network, Twinspires.com, Youbet, and XpressBet to take wagers on Tampa's races.

The agreements were negotiated with the approval of the Tampa Bay Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which has veto power over the distribution of simulcast signals through the federal Interstate Horseracing Act.

Races from Calder Race Course in Miami have been blacked out on all national account-wagering platforms since the track started its race meet this spring. The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, a separate organization from the Tampa Bay horsemen's group, has refused to allow account-wagering on Calder's signal because of concern over the amount of money from online bets that goes to purses.