Betfair has expressed its displeasure with the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), who late Friday announced there would be no exchange wagering at their tracks in 2012. The decision is a blow to Betfair’s US subsidiary TVG, which hoped to be offering peer-to-peer bets beginning July 18, when the season at Del Mar kicks off. Instead, TVG issued a statement calling Friday “a bleak day for California racing.” TVG CEO Stephen Burn told the Daily Racing Form the TOC decision caught him off guard because “after months of close negotiations … we thought we working well. At some point, I hope for a fuller explanation to better understand.”
Burns wouldn’t rule out the possibility that TVG would now enter discussions with quarter horse racing representatives, who might be more receptive to TVG’s pitch. As for the proposed TOC-blessed reciprocal agreement between TVG and Frank Stronach’s HRTV to allow each group to carry the other group’s races, Burns essentially said don’t hold your breath. Burns noted that HRTV’s presence on many cable and satellite providers lagged that of TVG, and the two sides could “talk about parity when HRTV has the same distribution as TVG.”
Unibet has tapped ZenithOptimedia to handle media planning/buying and content creation ahead of the European operator’s entry into the Australian market later this year. ZenithOptimedia’s content division Newcast is overseeing production of a new TV campaign and Unibet GM Mads Joergensen said he was glad to have ZenithOptimedia backing its “very aggressive and ambitious plans for Australia.”
Sports- and betting-data supplier Betradar AG will deploy its XML-feed Live Odds Service with Finnish national sports betting agency Veikkaus Oy and Norway’s Norsk Tipping AS. Veikkaus Oy live betting product mgr. Tommi Jokinen said they turned to Betradar for a “cost effective and quality way to enhance our live betting offerings.” Norsk Tipping’s Ole Morten Bratberg was a little more effusive, saying that thanks to Betradar’s support, “we are now looking forward to Euro 2012.” Which suggests that before they signed the deal, Norsk Tipping viewed Euro 2012 much as one would view the appearance of the Grim Reaper, bloody scythe in hand, standing at the foot of your driveway, while thunder clapped ominously overhead. (Perhaps not.)
Also not fearing Euro 2012 is 888 Holdings, now that they’ve signed former England star Ian Wright as 888Sport.com ambassador for the duration of the international footie extravaganza. Wright will act as the focal point of the site’s Winning Streak prediction title, where punters are asked to predict the outcomes of 31 Euro 2012 matches for a shot at winning £888,888, an amount Wright referred to as “a lot of money.” See, kids? That’s the kind of piercing insight you can only get from someone who spent decades knocking over-inflated footballs out of the air with his noggin. Worth every penny.