Kip Levin has been named CEO of the US operations of betting exchange Betfair. Levin (pictured), the former executive VP of Ticketmaster’s e-commerce division, will oversee Betfair US’ advance deposit wagering operation Television Games Network (TVG) as well as the Betfair Casino online gambling operation in New Jersey.
Levin replaces Stephen Burns, who stepped down from overseeing Betfair US last September. Betfair’s US experience hasn’t been the smoothest ride, with the company still waiting on US racetracks and horsemen to arrive at a consensus that would allow TVG to offer exchange wagering, despite both California and New Jersey having passed the necessary legislation. Betfair has previously estimated that its bid to get exchange wagering in California has cost the company $10m, with literally nothing to show for it.
On Wednesday, the New Jersey Racing Commission announced it would publish its proposed exchange wagering regulations on June 16, which will mark the start of a 60-day public comment period. The Commission’s exec director Frank Zanzuccki said his “best guess is the rules could be formally in place by the end of September, early October.” Betfair had previously announced a tentative deal to offer exchange wagering at Monmouth Park, but the track’s live racing season ends Sept. 28.
Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran said Levin’s e-commerce background would be “a great fit” for Betfair’s global business strategy, while Levin said he was looking forward to “delivering the future of online gaming.” TVG, which enjoyed a “record-breaking” Kentucky Derby, launched its high-definition channel last month. Kevin Grigsby, VP of Production at TVG’s Los Angeles studio, said viewers could “see the blades of grass now, the hair blowing on a horse’s mane.” Bhavesh Patel, TVG’s SVP of television & marketing, said TVG would continue to invest in its broadcast technology because it was “committed to long-term growth in horseracing.”
RACING INCREASINGLY A DISTRACTION FOR CHURCHILL DOWNS
TVG may be committed to racing, but Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) appears more and more interested in its non-racing divisions. CDI doesn’t yet have any online gambling operations besides its TwinSpires ADW division but the company continues to invest over $1m per quarter developing its own online gambling platform in the hope that opportunities will eventually present themselves. And with CDI’s brick-and-mortar casino operations having become its chief revenue engine, CDI is looking to take the next step by applying for a casino license in upstate New York.
Up to this point, all of CDI’s casino holdings have come via acquisitions but CDI has teamed with New York’s Saratoga Casino & Raceway on a bid to build a $300m “world-class destination resort casino” from scratch in East Greenbush, a suburb of state capital Albany. The facility would feature a 300-room hotel, “multiple entertainment venues” as well as retail and dining options. There are currently 22 applicants vying for the four casino licenses New York plans to award. The deadline for final bids is June 30, with a decision on locations not expected until the fall.