03/24/2011 3:12PM

TVG lays off several staff members

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Television Games Network has fired approximately 20 workers, including several of its on-air commentators, as part of an effort to reduce costs, the company’s chief executive confirmed on Thursday.

Although company officials would not comment beyond a statement acknowledging the firings, the biographies of four television hosts – Bob Baedeker, Chris Kotulak, Frank Lyons, and Frank Mirahmadi – were no longer available on the company’s website on Thursday.

Stephen Burns, the chief executive of the company’s parent company, Betfair TVG, said that TVG was “restructuring segments of company operations, including streamlining some production roles.”

TVG was bought by Betfair in 2009 as part of an effort to expand to the United States. The company launched a pioneering betting-exchange operation in 2000 in the United Kingdom, and it has been lobbying aggressively for legislation that would allow expanded types of internet gambling in the States.

TVG was once the U.S. market leader in account wagering, but its position was eclipsed after Churchill Downs Inc’s Twinspires.com closed a deal to merge with Youbet.com last year.

According to records provided by the Oregon Racing Commission, total handle through TVG’s Oregon hub was $608.6 million in 2010, up 19 percent compared to total handle of $511.4 million in 2009.