If Jeff Gural is the white knight in saving the Meadowlands, can it be Betfair becomes the green knight? Harness Racing Update reports Betfair may be seeking to join the Gural team to obtain an ownership stake in the Meadowlands and if this is true, saving the Meadowlands takes a big jump forward as Betfair would be able to infuse a significant amount of capital into the project.
Why would Betfair want to become a partner in the Meadowlands? While the Meadowlands is showing plenty of nicks in its armor of late, it is still the most recognizable harness racing track in North America and has an international reputation, sort of how Solvalla is recognized by industry people in the United States. With exchange wagering coming to New Jersey, it further solidifies their persumed front runner status in running exchange wagering in New Jersey which will give them a heads up once exchange wagering becomes legal in California in 2012 (we tend to forget there are other companies that offer exchange wagering). In addition, having the Meadowlands in their 'stable', will the Meadowlands become part of their international exchange wagering offerings?
As for the Gural consortium, there are multiple advantages to having Betfair join the group. First of all, you will have a partner with deep financial pockets which will help in obtaining the $100 million needed to establish their new grandstand and OTW sites. In addition, it ensures the Meadowlands remains the prime exclusive harness track on TVG. As joint partners in the Meadowlands, it is not unreasonable to see Tioga Downs (less likely Vernon Downs) become a more prominent member of the TVG wagering menu, improving the racing product at Tioga and help Tioga become a larger magnet for wagering. Something else to consider, both Tioga Downs and Betfair are innovators. Tioga in marketing the sport, Betfair in wagering.
To paraphrase an old slogan, "Gural and Betfair, perfect together".