For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Friday, November 16, 2012

Exchange Wagering Approved in California

The CHRB has approved exchange wagering for California racetracks, including Cal-Expo.  With their approval, the rules have been sent for approval by the Office of Administrative Law for technical approval.  Assuming there are no objections, final approval could be given in two months. 

TVG and Churchill Downs were approved vendors for exchange wagering.  TVG indicates they could be ready by March  of 2013 though it is anticipated exchange wagering likely will begin later.  Apparently, Churchill Downs is undecided if they will proceed with exchange wagering.  Their applying for an exchange wagering license for their Twin Spires California customers is more about retaining business in California than it is in the promise of exchange wagering.  My guess is they will move forward in the event exchange wagering turns out to be a winner.  After all, they can sell their exchange wagering operation off to another firm if it turns out not to be lucrative for Churchill Downs. 

Even if approved by the state's OAL, not all tracks will likely participate in exchange wagering as agreements must be reached with racetracks and horsemen groups.  It appears an agreement has already been reached with Cal-Expo and the CHHA.  Hollywood Park's horsemen groups have not yet reached an agreement as has the Stonarch Group, operators of Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields.  Of course, being Hollywood Park may be wrapping up racing in the spring of 2013, the lack of an agreement with the horsemen there is a moot point.  I suspect once exchange wagering has been demonstrated to be successful, Santa Anita and GGF will probably come aboard.

Apparently horsemen are still reluctant to try new things.  The fear is the commission they will get from exchange wagering will be much less than what they are getting from traditional wagering.  However, if TVG is right, and they have experience from their European operations, racetracks and horsemen will be better served with exchange wagering than they are with traditional wagering.  True the amount they will get per dollar wagered will be less, but the volume should more than make up for it.

Besides, it is important to note exchange wagering deals only with win wagering.  If gamblers wish to play exotics, they still need the traditional pools.  If you get new gamblers attracted to racing because of exchange wagering, it stands to reason some of these players will explore the other forms of wagering.

New Jersey remains the only other state where exchange wagering is legal though the rules to offer it have not yet been propagated.  Perhaps once exchange wagering is underway in California, New Jersey racetracks will start pressing for the adoption of rules so they may participate in exchange wagering. 

Racing is an industry where courage is lacking.  Follow the leader seems to be the way things go.  Let someone have success first and watch how many other states will move towards exchange wagering.

No comments: