11/24/2011 1:14PM

TVG hires Hal Handel to help establish exchange betting


Television Games Network has hired the former New York racing executive Hal Handel to advise the company on its efforts to establish a foothold in the U.S. for exchange betting, the company announced on Thursday.

Handel, who has also held top positions in the racing industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, will “provide strategic advice and direction to TVG’s television network and its [account-wagering] business,” TVG said in a release, and “will also act as a liaison between the company and key stakeholders in the U.S. racing industry.”

TVG, the second-largest account-wagering company in the U.S., is owned by Betfair, the British-based company that pioneered exchange wagering. In the last several years, the company has aggressively lobbied state legislatures for the authorization to conduct exchange wagering, and two states, New Jersey and California, have passed legislation legalizing the practice.

The legislation in both states requires any betting-exchange operator to strike agreements with racetracks and horsemen before taking any bets. Those agreements have been elusive so far, largely because of a business model that returns a far smaller share of the betting revenue to tracks and horsemen than the existing parimutuel system.

In addition, the legality of exchange betting in the U.S. remains murky, due to existing federal prohibitions on bookmaking. Its legality has not yet been tested, however, because no company has launched an exchange betting company in the U.S. yet.

One of the most widely respected racing executives in the U.S., Handel was most recently chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association from 2007 to September 2011. Prior to joining NYRA, Handel was CEO of Greenwood Racing, which owns and operates Parx Racing, and he was also formerly the chief operating officer of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands.

A graduate of Rutgers University and Seton Hall Law School, Handel has also served as the executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission.


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