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Betfair shelved in California for at least a year

This was always coming in the States - the structure of stakeholders in American racing is considerably different to those they have faced previously in Britain and Australia. Everyone gets a say and there's no controlling body (government or administrator) who can push things through without approval at all levels. The horsemen's groups, in case the TOC, are as stubborn as they come. Racing in the US is dying big time, and yet anything which has a chance of moving the game forward has to jump through an incredible number of hurdles. Every argument they bring up - eg integrity, has been covered in depth everywhere else, yet the TOC has to re-invent the wheel to consider it. Racing has corrupt elements everywhere - if you endorse cash betting, no matter how many markets offered, how much percentage takeout, or betting on the horse to win or lose, then the argument is a furphy. Cash betting is faceless, and anonymity is the fraudster's best friend. Plus it's mind-boggling that any racing body even attempts to play the integrity card when at the same time they endorse American racing's drug culture without the tiniest bit of conscience.

TOC tables exchange-betting talks until next year

Exchange betting will not be implemented in California in 2012, and TVG and HRTV have been given the go-ahead to negotiate an agreement to televise each other’s California races in decisions reached by the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California at its monthly board meeting on Friday.

The board of the TOC, the state’s official representative of horsemen, opted not to take a vote on the approval of exchange betting for the upcoming Del Mar meeting, from July 18 to Sept. 5. The Del Mar meeting is the earliest the controversial bet could have been offered.

Officials with Del Mar and Betfair-TVG had lobbied hard in recent months for TOC approval for exchange betting, which allows customers to post odds and accept wagers on whether a horse will win or lose a race.

In a statement released late Friday, the TOC said it will not take up the issue of exchange betting for a year. There has been widespread concern from some parties in the sport, notably trainers, that they could be scrutinized for alleged wrongdoing because of the nature of exchange betting, particularly when a horse is bet to lose.

“The concept of exchange wagering has been a polarizing issue among the stakeholders in California racing,” TOC chairman Mike Pegram said in a statement. “This action will give us additional time to study this betting alternative and consider if it is in the best interests of the industry in our state.”

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Further comments from Betfair/TVG and the industry can be found in this followup article.

Betfair TVG officials miffed at TOC stance on exchange betting

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I spoke to a senior Betfair UK exec at Sandown races on Thursday night and this matter came up. Either he was putting on a brave face or they still haven't grasped just how monumental a task it will be to overcome these horsemen's groups in the US. And with Stephen Burn leading the way in California for Betfair/TVG, it just isn't going to happen... Watch what happens to the share price when UK markets open again, it might not be pretty.

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