Horseracing data deal for Satellite Information Services Limited

Retail and online betting products and services supplier Satellite Information Services Limited has exited licensing agreements with other providers of its horseracing and greyhound racing data in order to become the sole supplier of core race day data for British horseracing from 20 courses.

Satellite Information Services Limited, which has offices in London, Salford and Milton Keynes, revealed that the move will also see it exclusively supply core race day data for Irish horseracing and 22 British greyhound racing facilities in addition to its own international horseracing from Dubai, Latin America, Singapore and Germany.

The firm declared that it already supplies “the vast majority” of the online betting industry with horseracing and greyhound racing core race day data direct or via “contracted data distributors where licensing agreements have previously been in place”.

“Satellite Information Services Limited will be the sole exclusive provider of official core race day data for Irish horseracing, United Kingdom horseracing from 20 courses and United Kingdom greyhound racing from 22 tracks as well as providing official core race day data for premier international racing from,” read a statement from Satellite Information Services Limited. “This data will no longer be available through other data suppliers and customers will need to agree supply through Satellite Information Services Limited to continue with these key data services.”

As part of its plan to build content in the online data market, customers of Satellite Information Services Limited will now have access to pricing services including early prices with derivatives coming soon as well as enhanced data services such as form and tipping while in-running data for horseracing is to become available in 2017. Clients will moreover be able to take advantage of the firm’s streaming capability offering content from British greyhound races and Latin America, Singapore and Dubai horseracing with Irish horseracing to follow in the new year via its SIS Stream platform.

“This is a significant step forward for Satellite Information Services Limited, enabling more direct interactions with end customers and opening the door for new and exciting services,” said Paul Witten, Commercial Director for Satellite Information Services Limited. “In order to facilitate the initiative, our commercial and technical teams are geared up and ready to initiate the new commercial agreements and the required feed integrations. We are in discussions with other data providers to agree transitional arrangements to ensure that we minimize the impact of these changes on affected customers and that all customers can safely and effectively migrate over to the new services.”

Horseracing data deal for Satellite Information Services Limited was last modified: December 23rd, 2016 by Adam Morgan


Florida racetrack agrees 2017 purse contract

The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association has reportedly signed a deal with horseracing track operator Stronach Group regarding next year’s purse contract at Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino.

According to a report from Blood-Horse magazine, the pair reached an agreement on December 21 ahead of a year-end deadline but declined to specify the daily average reward or minimum purses the Hallandale Beach-based facility will be required to pay out during its four race meets in 2017.

“It’s a great contract for everyone; the horsemen, the track and for Florida racing,” said Bill White, President for the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association. “We are very excited.”

Stronach Group recently inked a consulting deal with Genting Malaysia Berhad that will see the Malaysian firm operate the casino at Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino while its most recent agreement reportedly calls for the elimination of a lingering overpayment in the purse account for non-championship meets.

Blood-Horse reported that such overpayments occur when money paid out to horsemen in purses exceeds the percentage of betting revenues allocated to the reward account. The new deal concerns such compensation that was rewarded between July of 2013 and June of 2014 when Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino operated head-to-head against near-neighbor Calder Casino And Race Course. Stronach Group assumed control of the racing operations at the Miami Gardens-based competitor in July of 2014 and the latest accord calls for the purse deficit to be reduced to zero by the end of the year and institutes a cap on any future overpayments.

“The horsemen will be able to start the 2017 non-championship meet with a balanced purse account, which should result in more predictable race cards and purses,” said Glen Berman, Executive Director for the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association. “This will better reflect the current handle at the track, which has been setting records for the last couple of years. The constant overpayment status of the purse account has left current horsemen paying the bills of past years’ meets.”

Blood-Horse additionally reported that the new deal will create the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association Stakes Series, which is to be a string of $100,000 stakes races to be run during the 2017 non-championship meet.

“This innovative approach by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association and Gulfstream Park [Racing And Casino] will reward south Florida owners and trainers who run year-round with more opportunities to race their top horses,” read a statement from the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association.

Finally, Blood-Horse reported that the deal calls for all three stables operated by Stronach Group in south Florida to be open throughout the year. These properties encompass Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino, Calder Casino And Gulfstream Park West Race Course, which is the new name for Calder Casino And Race Course, and the Palm Meadows training facility in Boynton Beach.

“This will provide great peace-of-mind and much needed flexibility for the smaller stables,” said White. “It adds a layer of certainty as before there was no contractual agreement for all three stabling areas to remain open year-round.”

Florida racetrack agrees 2017 purse contract was last modified: December 28th, 2016 by Adam Morgan


Breaking: Florida House moves forward on gambling expansion

Possibly sensing the end of opportunity after the state’s Supreme Court allowed an anti-casino voter initiative to go forward for the 2018 ballot, the Florida House has made several concessions that could result in a gambling deal for Florida.

The offer includes a new casino for Miami-Dade County, de-coupling all live dog racing and at least one horse track from slot machines, and authorizing the Seminole Tribe to offer roulette and craps.

Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz have been leading a gambling conference for the last two days, a summit that Galvano put off until after last week’s Supreme Court decision. According to local media outlets, Diaz stated, “We know that time is running out, so we wanted to make a substantial offer to the Senate,” in introducing the proposed compromise to which Galvano later replied, “[The proposal] was a substantial offer that tells me that you came in here ready to get the ball moving down the field.”

Under the proposal, any new casino in Miami-Dade could have no more than 1,500 slot machines and be located no closer than five miles to an existing parimutuel facility. It would also have to result in the surrender of another pari-mutuel permit and be selected in a competitive bidding process.

Genting is well situated in Miami with a recent 90-year lease on air above over the Miami Omni bus terminal with access to the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover station where they will invest $22 million in the county-owned properties, and 30 acres of adjacent Biscayne Bay waterfront land that formerly held the Miami Herald along with the Omni retail and hotel complex.

The Miami Herald reports that Fontainebleau Miami Beach would also likely compete for any new slots license.

Under the proposal the Seminole Tribe of Florida would be allowed to offer roulette and craps at all seven of its Florida casinos and, with voter approval, Calder Casino & Race Course in Miami Gardens could stop live horse racing as could all dog tracks in the state.

Other details found in Wednesday’s breaking Miami Herald report include an agreement that video gaming devices found in bars are to be considered Class III slots, slot machine taxes would be reduced if operators offer fewer machines, and “designated player” card games would be allowed under strictly defined and regulated rules.

The House proposal asks compromise from the Senate as it only authorizes a single casino in Miami-Dade rather than including another in Broward county.

If lawmakers plan to settle state law before contentious litigation in the courts is decided, they will still need to come to an agreement on what to do about eight Florida counties that have seen voters approve the addition of slot machines to their parimutuel facilities, including jai alai frontons.

The Senate had earlier proposed, and now the House has agreed to a provision that would ask the Seminole Tribe to give lawmakers two years to resolve any alleged compact violations.

The Senate may make a counter-offer as soon as today, according to The Herald.

Long-time casino antagonist John Sowinski of Voters in Charge, No Casinos, and other so-called grassroots organizations was not pleased with the development.

“This conference committee process is a prime example why gambling expansion should not be subject to legislative ‘sausage making’ as it results in gambling creep,” he said. “It is clear that there needs to be a bright line in the Florida Constitution that gives Florida voters the exclusive right to authorize gambling in our state.”

A poll released in March which was commissioned by one of Sowinski’s groups concluded that 84% of respondents statewide opposed gambling expansion, while 60% said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported it.

Breaking: Florida House moves forward on gambling expansion was last modified: April 26th, 2017 by Lars Jones


West Virginia greyhound industry demise under debate

As a long continuing trend across the country and throughout the world plays out, West Virginia could be the next U.S. state to end greyhound racing without actually banning the animal sport.

As part of the Republican-backed state budget, greyhound racing and the state’s video lottery gaming could be decoupled. Race dog breeders would no longer receive part of the revenues generated by the lucrative slot machines, even though the video lottery terminals were originally approved on that condition.

According to reports by local news outlets, the dogs have been racing in Wheeling, West Virginia more than 40 years, while our research finds the first facility in Wheeling opening in 1866 with greyhounds introduced to the track in August 1976. By the summer of 1984 “Wheeling Downs” was in the top 3 or 4 tracks of 42 then operational in the country.

Now dog racing is illegal in 40 states, while all tracks have closed in four more states due to other pressures. Currently, only West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Iowa have legal, active tracks. Arizona was the last state to outlaw dog racing in 2016. Since 2001 thirty tracks have ended racing and most have closed altogether.

From a practical standpoint, nobody expects the state’s race tracks to survive if breeders no longer receive a portion of slot losses. From an economic standpoint proponents of Senate Bill 4-37 say the measure would save the state about $15 million per year.

Opponents of the bill say its passage would close every kennel in the state and eliminate as many 1,700 jobs. With no tracks to race at there could also be as many as 6,000 dogs in need of adoption.

Other states, including Florida, have struggled with the possibility of parimutuel betting tracks, dogs and horses, being decoupled from the gambling machines that made their way onto the scene as a way to create and maintain jobs in the racing industry.

The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association CEO & Executive V.P., Lonny Powell said of the potential there, “In a nutshell, decoupling means a race track in Florida would have the option of dropping all or most of its live racing while still keeping (or expanding) its slots and poker room facilities and seeking authorization for future gaming products from the Florida Legislature.”

In late 2015, Spectrum Gaming released an updated report detailing the decline in attendance at Wheeling from 929,000 in 1983 to only 13,000 in 2013.  The state Dept. of Revenue commissioned the report in order to get an independent and objective analysis of whether sharing video lottery revenue with racetracks made economic sense.

The study showed that purse supplements had risen to 95%, whereas prizes were once entirely created from betting handle on the dogs. At one track the purses were also going to out of state residents at a ratio of 230:30.

Following is a portion of a World Casino News report on the study first published in 2015:

 

In 2014 the state was approaching an overall loss for the first time with oversight costs projected at $965,000 and race-related revenues to the state projected at $1 million. The report also showed that overall economic impacts of the greyhound industry barely exceeded subsidies.

Although none of the analyst’s recommendations included eliminating greyhound racing outright, their final recommendation did suggest that if the Legislature decides to eliminate racing, a small portion of the tax on gross gaming revenue from West Virginia video lottery casinos that currently goes into purse subsidies could be used to compensate those in the industry who would be harmed by a cessation of racing.

Industry insiders note that greyhound racing employs many people and their hopes are that legislators will not abandon the sport.

Currently, 39 states and the territory of Guam have outlawed greyhound racing, and four more states don’t have active tracks. Colorado was the most recent state to ban the practice with a law in 2014. Only six states other than West Virginia allow greyhound racing and have active tracks.

West Virginia greyhound industry demise under debate was last modified: March 20th, 2017 by Lars Jones


U.K. man wins after accidentally betting 10x’s his intended wager on Grand National

One lucky man is £2,000 richer after accidently wagering £200 ($248USD) instead of £20 ($25USD) on the 170th Randox Health Grand National at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England.

Thirty-eight-year-old Alex Blackwell, a freelance journalist from of Kibworth, said he would never intentionally place a bet for £200, an amount he described as “crazy,” according to the Mirror. The lucky winner said he mistakenly added the extra zero to his £20 on Friday, the night before the annual National Hunt horse race was held.

Blackwell, fortunately, put his money on One For Arthur, an eight-year-old trained in Kinross that became only the second Scottish winner in the history of the Grand National, first run in 1839. The 16-1 wager was placed on the Bet365 website and Blackwell didn’t realize his mistake until after the race was over and he checked his bet.

Blackwell, who said he normally spends between £30 and £40 on a few Grand National bets every year, told the Mirror, “My immediate thought after the race was, I hope I bet on One For Arthur. I looked straight away, as soon as the horse crossed the line.” He said when he reviewed the wager he saw that he had bet £200 on the race.

Blackwell said he ended up winning £2,200 ($2,736USD) and felt fortunate because he didn’t intend on wagering that much on the race. A “win and each way” bet, he wagered £100 for a win and an additional £50 each way on the horse.

The Grand National is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km) with horses seven-years-old and up jumping 30 fences over two laps. The prize fund this year was £1 million ($1.24 million USD); it is the most valuable jump race in Europe.

Jockey Derek Fox rode One For Arthur who was sent off at 14-1 and managed to out-jump and outlast his 39 rivals in the race that began with two false starts and ended in a dramatic finish. The horse was trained by Lucinda Russell, who became only the fourth woman to train a National winner.

U.K. man wins after accidentally betting 10x’s his intended wager on Grand National was last modified: April 11th, 2017 by K Morrison


Macau government grants six month license extension to MJC

The Macau Horse Racing Company Ltd has been granted a six-month extension of its betting license by the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) government.

In September 2015, despite a decade of financial losses, the government extended the horse-betting concession for Macau Horse Racing Co. Ltd., which operates Macau Jockey Club (MJC), for two additional years. That license was due to expire on August 31, the same as the contract prior to that which was renewed in 2005. Asia Gaming Brief reports that according to local media, development plans submitted by the Macau Jockey Club close to the license expiry date are still being looked at by the Macau government.

Since 1978 the monopoly for horseracing betting in the city has been held by Macau Horse Racing Co. Ltd.

Asia Gaming Brief reports that in response to the Macau Daily Times, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) said that “the latest revised proposal submitted by the MJC contained development plans that involved the work of several other government departments, and considering that when the time the above revised proposal was submitted was very near to the Concession Contract expiry of the MJC, the MSAR Government, therefore, decided to grant a six-month extension to the MJC Concession Contract so as to provide adequate time for the relevant departments to conduct studies and analysis on the MJC proposal.”

The current contract was by executive order extended until February 28, 2018, as announced in the official gazette.

Macau government grants six month license extension to MJC was last modified: August 8th, 2017 by K Morrison


EquiLottery and Charles Town Racing reach broadcast rights agreement for innovative lottery product

EquiLottery has reached an agreement with West Virginia’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races for live video feeds of horse races at the track to be used for a lottery game based on live race results. The deal could make hundreds of yearly race days and others at Penn National Gaming, Inc. owned tracks to be used in West Virginia and more states as the company expands its offerings.

“It is a great honor to be working with such a well-regarded racing and gaming operation as Charles Town Races,” said EquiLottery Founder and CEO Brad Cummings. “Their leadership team and their association with Penn National Gaming’s network of racetracks make this a perfect agreement to help us continue our early momentum. We hope others will recognize the significance of their willingness to support our mission to generate unprecedented reach for the sport of horse racing as well as deliver new revenues to racing and the good causes supported by state lotteries across the U.S.”

EquiLottery will be allowed to use the live feeds from Charles Town for a broadcast fee with half going to purses and the other half to the racetrack. This will allow West Virginia tracks to see purse and administrative revenues for in-state and out of state races featured through EquiLottery in West Virginia.

EquiLottery lets players buy $2 lottery tickets that pay out based on the results of live horse races. Each ticket holds a 3 number bet with horse names and numbers mentioned. Players can buy Quick Picks making the game easy and fun. Daily race videos are available through the company’s website, over monitors at retailers, and through a mobile app.

In just a little over 2 years the company has inked deals with IGT Global Solutions and tote system leader AmTote International among others. Further development currently includes IOS and Android mobile app which will allow players features such as watching races live and on replay, scanning tickets and setting push notifications for upcoming races all from the convenience of their mobile devices.

In addition to the racecourse which opened in 1933, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races features nearly 100 gaming tables, over 3,000 gaming machines, and a 50-table poker room. The Inn At Charles Town offers more than 150 all smoke-free rooms for overnight and vacationing guests.

EquiLottery and Charles Town Racing reach broadcast rights agreement for innovative lottery product was last modified: February 15th, 2017 by Lars Jones


January 13 marks turning point or possible end of New Jersey sportsbetting fight

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hold conference on New Jersey‘s fight to have their sports betting case heard on January 13. If at least four of the current eight justices decide to hear the case, parties and the public should know by January 17 and the case would go to the SCOTUS calendar for 2017. Not many options beyond waiting for another state in another circuit to beat sports betting opponents exist if the court refuses to hear the case next month.

How the justices determine whether to hear the case or not will likely depend on their view of the United States Constitution. If heard, the case could set precedence in far-reaching areas of law as it rests on core principles of state’s rights, federalism, and interstate commerce.

New Jersey and the NJ Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association filed briefs Wednesday in response to professional sports leagues filings earlier asking the court not to hear the state’s appeal. The parties are appealing a Third Circuit Court en banc panel’s decision this summer that determined New Jersey’s attempt to partially repeal sports betting laws applying to casinos and racetracks, left them in effect for any other venue in the state – effectively still legalizing them in violation of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The appealing parties (joined by Mississippi, West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana, and Wisconsin) say that Congress, while able to regulate citizens, may not “require the states to govern by Congress’ instruction.”

In his brief to the court, Governor Chris Christie argued that “Congress lacks the power to compel a State to prohibit acts under its own state laws. If all a State does is narrow its own state-law prohibitions, there is nothing Congress constitutionally may preempt.”

In the Horsemen’s separate brief the NJTHA argued that “PASPA regulates the content of state law without any federal rule governing commerce as its foundation,” whereas federal statutes that preempt state law do so as a consequence of the creation of some federal rule governing commerce.

In a nutshell, the federal government is or is not allowed to force a state to repeal or reinstate their own laws.

In 1992 the PASPA barred all but four states from allowing sports betting. Those states already had existing laws on the books authorizing the practice to one degree or another. New Jersey failed to authorize sports betting before the federal law took effect. After a 2012 law allowing sports betting in the state was struck down in 2012, Governor Christie signed a law into effect repealing the state’s prohibition of betting at casinos and racetracks in a move that led to the current case before the court.

That law was also tossed by a federal judge in New Jersey as well as at a full hearing before all 12 active judges of the circuit court of appeals in Pennsylvania. Optimism lit up the sports betting media when the court decided that the issue was too complicated to be heard by only three judges and went to the en banc panel.

New Jersey pols have long fought to legalize sports betting in the state as a way to raise revenues and help the struggling Atlantic City casino industry. Currently, only Borgata has a race book and no legal venues in the state offer sports books. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that at least $150 billion a year is wagered illegally on sports betting in the United States which provides revenues to organized crime rather than to states as it would in a well-regulated market.

January 13 marks turning point or possible end of New Jersey sportsbetting fight was last modified: December 29th, 2016 by Lars Jones


Churchill Downs presents the 143rd Run for the Roses Saturday, 6:34 p.m.

The first Saturday in May brings the culmination of the two weeks long Kentucky Derby Festival with a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds; the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky is home to the “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” otherwise known as “The Run for the Roses” as the race only lasts about 2 minutes and the winner will be draped in roses.

The Kentucky Derby is also the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing which includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Only twelve horses have won all three events in the same year since the Kentucky Derby was inaugurated into the prestigious competition in 1875. The first was Sir Barton in 1919 and the last was American Pharoah in 2015, the first to take the trophy in 37 years.

The twenty horses in this year’s field present difficult betting propositions for serious pony fans and those who only flock to the tracks or local off-track betting parlors for big events. Some handicappers note that half the field has a chance to take home the roses with four horses sitting at 6-1 odds or better on the Friday morning odds lines.

Race fans at home can start watching coverage on their local NBC affiliate beginning at 2:30 p.m. with post time scheduled for a little after 6:30 p.m. Many OTB’s will be switching coverage back and forth throughout the day to pick up highlights of the Derby festivities and undercard races. Look online for a Kentucky Derby party near you if you aren’t one of the almost 170,000 or so die-hard fans expected to pack into Churchill Downs, come rain or shine, for the big race.

While there is currently only a 9% chance of rain at post time, earlier in the day predictions are as high as 85% which means the track could be wet. What is already a tricky field, especially for a five-figure trifecta, becomes even more difficult when trying to determine who can run 1 1/4 miles in mud without going weak or faltering. At least with three-year-olds racing, there may be some data for handicappers to rely on, but barely.

One suggestion would be to take the ten contenders, then winnow your field down even more as only half of the horses running for the roses have ever raced on a wet track. Look at Classic Empire and Lookin at Lee, as these are the only two in the field who have raced on a wet track at Churchill Downs. Classic Empire placed first on May 4, 2016, and Lookin at Lee took second in another race but was more than 8 lengths behind the winner. For the third I’ll be pulling in one of the unknowns – either McCracken or Irish War Cry.

Churchill Downs presents the 143rd Run for the Roses Saturday, 6:34 p.m. was last modified: May 5th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Churchill Downs Incorporated completes acquisition of Maryland casino

Churchill Downs Incorporated has announced that it has completed a deal in partnership with fellow American casino and racetrack operator Saratoga Casino Holdings to purchase the firms behind Maryland’s Casino At Ocean Downs and its associated Ocean Downs Racetrack.

Louisville-based Churchill Downs Incorporated is the company behind casinos including Maine’s Oxford Casino as well as the Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Mississippi and revealed that the new Old Bay Gaming And Racing joint venture has spent an undisclosed amount to acquire firms Ocean Enterprise 589, Ocean Downs and Racing Services from a private ownership group led by businessman William Rickman.

“By virtue of its 25% ownership of Saratoga Casino Holdings, Churchill Downs Incorporated will indirectly own an additional 12.5% of [Old Bay Gaming And Racing] for a total interest in [Old Bay Gaming And Racing] of 62.5%,” read an August statement from Churchill Downs Incorporated.

Churchill Downs Incorporated earlier stated that the deal, which has been approved by the Maryland Lottery And Gaming Control Agency and the Maryland Racing Commission, would see Rickman, who was Executive Vice-President for former operator Maryland Gaming, serve as a senior advisor to Old Bay Gaming And Racing in order to “ensure that this strategic partnership is successful”. The Kentucky firm explained that the transaction would moreover include Denise Hill, Government Relations Director for Maryland Gaming, and the firm’s General Manager, Joseph Cavilla, remaining in these roles.

Rickman purchased Casino At Ocean Downs and Ocean Downs Racetrack in 2000 before rebuilding the casino ten years later. As a result, the facility on approximately 168 acres of land in the Maryland town of Berlin about a five-minute drive from the coastal resort community of Ocean City now offers some 800 video lottery terminals and electronic gaming tables as well as a schedule of live seasonal harness racing and a year-round simulcast facility.

Churchill Downs Incorporated completes acquisition of Maryland casino was last modified: January 5th, 2017 by Adam Morgan