11/02/2009 12:00AM

TVG and TrackNet reach deal


Television Games Network, the account-wagering company, has reached a deal with a simulcast-marketing company co-owned by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment that will allow TVG to offer wagering for the next year on any racing signals controlled by the two companies.

The deal will most immediately impact the fall meets at Churchill Downs in Louisville and Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, two Churchill properties. Churchill began its 21-day fall meet on Sunday, when a previous agreement between TVG and the simulcast-marketing company, TrackNet, expired. Fair Grounds opens on Friday and runs through March.

Under the agreement, TVG will not be able to broadcast TrackNet races live on its television channel, the most widely available in the U.S., but it will be allowed to stream the races live over its website.

Though the one-year agreement extends a prior contractual arrangement between TVG and TrackNet, which was formed by Churchill and Magna three years ago, the deal also hinges on whether the two sides can resolve a lawsuit TVG filed against Magna's account-wagering company, XpressBet, by Dec. 26, according to Scott Daruty, the chief executive of TrackNet.

The lawsuit accuses XpressBet of infringing on patents held by TVG. One month ago, a court ruled that the patents apply only to betting through television devices and do not apply to betting over the Internet, torpedoing a critical claim of TVG in the case. If TVG and TrackNet do not resolve the dispute, the existing contract will become void, Daruty said.