06/18/2001 11:00PM

TVG bids to take over Oregon hub


Television Games Network has applied to take over the Oregon wagering hub run by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, moving to sever a direct relationship between the two companies that threatened the NTRA's support among some racetracks last year.

TVG's application will be presented and reviewed on Friday during a regularly scheduled Oregon Racing Commission meeting. Steve Barham, executive director of the commission, said Tuesday that the application will almost certainly be approved, allowing TVG to take over the hub on July 1.

The Oregon hub began taking bets in early 2000 on behalf of TVG's account-wagering operation. TVG paid the NTRA a quarter-percent of each wager through the hub as a processing fee.

The relationship was criticized by many tracks last year for giving the NTRA an incentive to promote TVG's account-wagering service at the expense of others, some owned by NTRA members. A faction of tracks cited the relationship last year before dropping out of the NTRA.

"It's no secret that the NTRA's active involvement in the operation of a wagering hub has been a source of controversy for the organization," said Mark Wilson, president of TVG, in a statement released Tuesday. "We have simply eliminated that source of controversy while remining supportive of the NTRA and its mission."

Tim Smith, commissioner of the NTRA, said Tuesday that TVG would remain a close partner of the NTRA, and that "the NTRA will continue to work to maximize the economic potential of account wagering for the horse racing industry."