Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why Won't Churchill Do the Right Thing?

Thanks to Terry Bjork on the Derby List for alerting me to how far Churchill Downs, Inc. and the Churchill horsemen are from agreement on sharing the revenue from internet betting.  As reported in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Churchill's last offer to the horsemen was to give 5.5% of internet (ADW) handle to purses, while at the same time eliminating any "source market" fees that would otherwise have gone to purses. (Don't ask me to explain source-market fees, but they compensate tracks for bets made online from locations near a track).

In contrast, the recent settlements with horsemen in California and Louisiana apparently give horsemen 7% of the internet/phone wagering handle, in a combination of source-market fees plus a percentage of the takeout.  That's in line with the goal set by the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group for an equal one-third division of ADW revenue between tracks, ADW companies and purses.

Comparing Churchill's 5.5% offer to the 7% goal, there's still a long way to go.  I hope Marty Maline of the Kentucky HBPA is right that chances are good for an agreement before Churchill's spring meet, but the deal isn't done yet.

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