Betfair’s US subsidiary TVG will not be able to offer exchange wagering on California horse races in 2012 following a decision by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) to defer a vote on the issue for another year. In a statement issued following its monthly board meeting on Friday, the TOC cited concerns that the ability of exchange bettors to wager on a horse to lose a race would subject certain parties in the sport – trainers, in particular – to undeserved/unwanted scrutiny. It’s been two years since California legislators opened the doors to exchange wagering, which was supposed to begin this May, but to TVG’s great frustration, California’s tracks, owners and trainers have yet to be convinced of exchange betting’s merits. The California Horse Racing Board is scheduled to debate the rule-making process (again) later this month.
While the news is another blow to Betfair’s US ambitions, Daily Racing Form reports that the TOC did approve a proposal for HRTV-owner Stronach Group Racing to wangle a reciprocal agreement with TVG to show previously exclusive California races on each other’s networks. Under the terms of the deal, which has yet to be finalized, HRTV would get the rights to broadcast races from the Del Mar and Hollywood courses, while TVG gets a feed from Golden Gate and Santa Anita.
Moving north, the Quebec Jockey Club (QJC) has finalized its acquisition of the Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres racetrack, which has been shuttered since December 2008. The non-profit QJC has been on a mission to revitalize horse racing in la belle provence, starting with the five-year deal it signed in 2010 with Woodbine Entertainment Group’s online betting platform HorsePlayer Interactive. Vincent Trudel, QJC general manager, told CTV News that the organization had looked at multiple options to help boost purses at Quebec tracks, but ultimately decided acquiring and reopening the Trois-Rivieres track “was the perfect fit for us.” The QJC also plans to open five off-track betting parlors this summer, two of them in Montreal, where the QJC hopes to build its own racetrack “in the next five years.”