11/28/2006 12:00AM

Tentative wagering deal in California


The account-wagering company TVG and the Thoroughbred Owners of California reached an agreement on the distribution of revenue from bets, and the California Horse Racing Board approved 2007 licenses for TVG and two other account-wagering companies, XpressBet and Youbet.com, at a board meeting Monday at Hollywood Park.

However, TVG and XpressBet are still discussing how to allow customers of the two services to bet on all three major Southern California racetracks without having to establish accounts with both companies. Currently, TVG has an exclusive agreement to televise and take bets on Del Mar and Hollywood, and XpressBet holds an exclusive agreement with Santa Anita. Youbet.com, through licensing agreements with the other two companies, offers betting on all of the state's racetracks.

David Nathanson, the general manager of TVG, said on Monday that the deal is far from a certainty and may not be completed in time for the opening of the Santa Anita winter meeting on Dec. 26.

"We're talking about a one-year experiment, but there are a lot of issues," Nathanson said. "Until we can come to an agreement, things are status quo."

At Monday's CHRB meeting, chairman Richard Shapiro said that under the current proposal TVG would retain exclusive TV rights to Del Mar and Hollywood Park but XpressBet would be allowed to offer video streaming on its website of races run at those tracks. Currently, XpressBet does not show racing from those tracks either on its HRTV network or on its website.

Also at Monday's meeting, Shapiro was elected CHRB chairman for 2007, with John Harris elected vice chairman.