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It looks like betting on US thoroughbred horse racing helped fill the gap for some sports bettors during the month of April, according to Equibase. Handle fell 24.4% to $639.4 million last month compared to last April, according to the report. But that’s a much lower drop than the decline in races and race days with many tracks still shuttered. Total races fell 71.4% to 746 last month and race days dropped 72.7% to just 85. Equibase typically reports US thoroughbred racing figures on a quarterly basis. It moved to monthly to show the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Horse racing handle per race day skyrockets The most telling stat provided by Equibase is the average horse racing handle per race day for last month. Each race day saw an average of $7.5 million in handle, up 176.5% from the prior year. So while overall handle shows a drop, in reality, these races drew much more betting attention than last year. If the number of race days were equal to last year’s 311, that average handle per race day would equal $2.3 billion in handle for the month. TwinSpires sees ‘significant’ growth TwinSpires, one of the best-known deposit wagering websites in the US, has seen a spike in business since sports began to shut down. Handle grew 8.3% in the first quarter to $329.8 million with active players up 11.6%. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen during the company’s first-quarter earnings call: “Our TwinSpires business, within the online wagering segment, has grown significantly as more individuals bet online, particularly with so many brick-and-mortar betting outlets closed and, perhaps, with fewer entertainment options in general. Even as the number of racetracks that are actively running races has declined, TwinSpires really capitalized. This has been even more true as we’ve progressed through the second quarter.” That growth really started from March 16 through the end of the month, COO Bill Mudd added. That’s about the time when casinos, tracks and off-track betting facilities began to shutter, forcing bettors online. And it’s also about when most of America realized major sports weren’t returning anytime soon. “But anecdotally, I can say that we’ve picked up a lot of core horse players, but we’ve also picked up a lot of other players now that are playing thoroughbred racing because of all of the sporting events that have been canceled across the world,” Mudd said. Michigan approves ADW deals Michigan will begin licensing advanced deposit wagering operators that want to partner with Northville Downs, which offers harness racing and simulcast betting. Of the three biggest ADW sites operating in the US, two of them – BetAmerica and TwinSpires, both owned by Churchill Downs – already list Michigan as a legal state. TVG, owned by the same parent company as FanDuel, is not currently in Michigan. Operators must pay a $1,000 license fee and provide a plan of operation to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. There’s no timeline for when the first licenses will be approved, but the agency will work “as quickly as possible” to review applications, Communications Specialist Mary Kay Bean said. “Many firms already have licenses in other states, which will help the applicants as we review them,” she added. By Matthew Waters Reprinted with permission of Legal Sports Report

In places like California and New York, where state governments are urging social distancing, horse racing is still happening for fans betting online. The Kentucky Derby, long known for its spot on the sporting calendar on the first Saturday in May, is making a big shift to September. But even the coronavirus pandemic has not stopped horses from racing and gamblers from betting on it across the United States. While the virus has transformed the sporting landscape, leaving fans with virtually nothing to watch or bet on, horse racing has remained an option particularly for gamblers isolated at home. On Wednesday, for example, you could watch and bet on horse races taking place at tracks in Australia, Louisiana and Texas, as well as harness racing in Sweden, Canada and Ohio. On Friday, several major thoroughbred tracks, such as Aqueduct in New York and Santa Anita Park in California, plan to be open for competition and wagering, running full slates with four to 10 horses per race. Fans will be prohibited from the tracks, as they were last weekend. NBC Sports — in need of live broadcasting content — announced Wednesday that it would simulcast “Trackside Live,” the signature program of the horse racing network TVG that jumps around to live races around the sport on Saturday and Sunday. Despite its many, many problems — including an alarming number of horses who suffer fatal injuries and a federal doping investigation that has so far yielded 28 indictments — horse racing remains a multibillion-dollar industry and racetrack operators intend to keep their doors open, if possible. Even as schools and restaurants close and large gatherings are restricted, the races have held on, with the blessing of regulators. Brad Maione, a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, said that it had approved the continued racing at Aqueduct as long as no fans are allowed to attend. He said Aqueduct is an open-air facility, capable of producing racing programs with a small number of workers (fewer than 50, and not in a confined area). Beyond no fans or food, the restrictions are that no visitors, including horse owners, are permitted in the barn areas. New York’s thoroughbred tracks saw $2.1 billion in wagers in 2019. They contributed $15.4 million in tax revenue. “Opening Aqueduct, and racetracks across the country, supports horsemen and their businesses, racetrack employees and the backstretch community,” said David O’Rourke, chief executive of the New York Racing Association, which operates the largest tracks in the state as part of an industry that supports the jobs of some 19,000 people statewide. In California, where races generate more than $16 million in annual tax revenues, racing had also been approved for this weekend, said Mike Marten, a spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board. “All wagering is remote from patrons at home using account wagering platforms,” Marten said. While social distancing has become regular practice in so many parts of American life, many fans have stuck with one of the few live sports still happening, even remotely. More than $17.5 million was bet on races at Aqueduct from Friday through Sunday, according the to association. TVG, which broadcasts races from more than 150 tracks across the world, saw a 75 percent increase in wagering on its betting platform on Saturday and Sunday, compared with the same two days in 2019. The FanDuel Racing app was downloaded more over the weekend than it had been in the previous three months, reaching the No. 6 most-downloaded on Apple’s list of free sports apps, according to TVG. The app was designed for first-time horse-racing bettors in anticipation of the Triple Crown races. “We didn’t think it would take off under these circumstances,” said Kip Levin, the chief executive officer of TVG. “As you can tell, people were looking for a distraction.” The network also told its anchors and commentators to simplify their explanations and insights to make them understandable for novice bettors. Its simulcast arrangement with NBC Sports could nearly double its reach: TVG is in 45 million homes while the NBC Sports Network is in 83 million homes. So far, TVG has a significant number of tracks still running to broadcast. “But that may be changing by the hour,” Levin said. At a time when nearly 600 people live in facilities on the backside of Belmont Park to take care of feeding, grooming and walking horses, New York racing officials said they are simply following the recommendations of state and federal health authorities to not have fans at the track. The horses must be cared for whether there is racing or not. Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, postponed America’s most famous race until Sept. 5. The Preakness and Belmont Stakes — the other two-thirds of the Triple Crown — have yet to decide if they will follow the Derby into the autumn. “All options are on the table, including running the Belmont on June 6,” said Pat McKenna, a spokesman for the New York Racing Association. The prospect of holding the Derby before a crowd of more than 150,000 prompted Churchill Downs to delay the race for the first time since World War II. “Its energy and its magic really comes from everybody being there to enjoy it,” Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive of Churchill Downs Inc., said during a conference call. “We will roll with the punches but we feel very good that Sept. 5 is the right date.” NBC Sports, which holds the broadcast rights to the Triple Crown, is in talks to hold the three-race series within a window of five weeks in the fall. If that happens, the Preakness would most likely be held Sept. 19 and the Belmont on Oct. 10. Maryland Jockey Club officials acknowledged that they were talking to NBC Sports about a deal to move the Preakness. “It had to be done,” Carstanjen said of the Derby postponement. “We own it and will make it a really special day. We are also excited that NBC is in talks to move the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to September and early October, respectively. We hope the parties can reach a final agreement.” By Joe Drape Reprinted with permission of The New York Times

A shock law change means Kiwis traveling to Australia will find themselves struggling to having a bet on their TAB account or watch New Zealand racing. And in a move that could cost the New Zealand TAB millions of dollars, all Australian-based punters are now banned from betting with our TAB. The restrictions came into force on Wednesday as the recently-passed Australian Interactive Gambling Amendment Act became law in Australia. The law was effectively passed so undesirable betting agencies and exchanges operating outside of Australia -- particularly the underground Asian-based sites --- could not longer offer betting on sport and racing to Australia-based clients. But the New Zealand TAB, who has close ties to Australia’s Tabcorp through its co-mingling and broadcasting agreements, have been caught up in the law. The new law means any betting agency not holding a licence under the law of an Australian territory, and the New Zealand Racing Board does not hold one, faces millions in fines if they allow Australians to bet with them and that agencies directors can face criminal charges. So the New Zealand Racing Board has been forced to contact all its Australian clients and tell them their TAB accounts are closed. That alone will cost the NZRB millions in lost turnover but what is impossible to calculate is how much it will cost in turnover from New Zealand punters who are traveling or living part-time in Australia. As of yesterday no computer with an Australian IP address will be able to access the New Zealand TAB site. Which means any Kiwi punter heading to Australia intending to use a local computer or their mobile phone through a wifi connection will be blocked from using the TAB site, and therefore having a bet. The one loophole could be New Zealanders traveling to Australia but using their mobile data on a roaming plan, who may still be able to access the TAB site. NZRB now have to work out how to navigate the problem long-term as it looks certain, with their close Australian ties, they weren’t intended to be among the restricted operators but legally they are. They could apply for a Australian operations licence, which are not cheap, or for dispensation from the block. But for now, as racing’s golden spring approaches, the New Zealand TAB is off limits to those living in Australia or traveling there, which means they also can’t watch New Zealand racing on many phones or computers. Michael Guerin

Almost 4 million euro has been wagered in France on harness racing Victorian trots in 2016 alone. Twenty-eight Victorian races have been exported to France this year with the new Monday night events proving extremely popular with French punters. Following the most recent meeting on February 15, the French export of races saw an aggregate turnover of over 4 million euro (almost $6million AUD), for an average of over 139,000 euro ($212,000 AUD) per race. The meeting held at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 8 has proved to be the biggest to date with over 740,000 euro (over $1.1m AUD) wagered on the last four races of the night. The races have also proved popular with local punters, with Victorian TAB turnover on the meetings exceeding expectations. The races are broadcast via the French racing vision provider with the support of Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) broadcast partner, Sky Racing, and are wagered on through the French pari-mutuel PMU.   HRV Wagering Manager Ryan Stanaway said that the results were a positive for the industry. “The results for the year to date are extremely pleasing. To generate almost $6 million in additional turnover for our code without adding new fixtures is a terrific outcome,” Stanaway said. “It’s also a great sign that Victorian trotting is well respected globally and hopefully this will lead to further opportunities to showcase our product in the future. “It is obviously a valuable revenue stream for HRV, and we are very grateful to our participants for their support of the initiative to date. It has required some changes to our schedule, which the industry on the whole has embraced, and now the broader benefits for Victorian harness racing are evident.” French punters will become even more familiar with Victorian trotting action, with a minimum of 44 races scheduled to be beamed into France for the remainder of 2016.  Harness Racing Victoria

A single winning ticket correctly hit the harness racing Jackpot Hi-5 Thursday night at Woodbine Racetrack to score the winning horseplayer a massive $189,970.16 payout. The winning ticket was constructed by an HPIBet customer from Nova Scotia, who made a $252 wager to correctly hit the Jackpot Hi-5. The winning horseplayer keyed race-winner #4 Princess Katie on top and used several others underneath. Princess Katie came through and won the Jackpot Hi-5 race, a Fillies & Mares Non-Winners of Two Pace, at odds of 9/2. The top-five was completed by #1 Queenofthejungle (16/1), #3 Money Magic (5/1), #7 In The Shadows (60/1) and #9 Sodwana Bay (13/1). Ambrosia Seelster, the 3/5 favourite, finished outside the money in eighth. The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover was $161,715.16 heading into Thursday night's card of racing. A total of $33,241 of new money was wagered into the Jackpot Hi-5. The last significant Jackpot Hi-5 payout occurred in December, when a horseplayer connected for a $242,409 payout. The Jackpot Hi-5 will now start from scratch Friday night. Post time for the 10-race card is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

August 12, 2015 (Washington, PA) - Leading online horse racing wagering provider, Xpressbet, and Chicago's Balmoral Park are excited to announce they have entered into an affiliate partnership. Together, they will work to promote online wagering to Illinois residents, as well as to bring awareness to Balmoral and its sister track, Maywood Park, with Xpressbet's customers and racing fans.   One of the largest online horse wagering sites in the United States and a member of the Stronach Group, Xpressbet offers more than a decade of expertise in promoting horse racing and online wagering. Currently operating in 39 states, Xpressbet prides itself on providing a quick and seamless wagering experience and practical handicapping information to its customers.   Two of the most popular and heavily-wagered harness tracks in the nation, Balmoral and Maywood host nearly 200 live racing cards each year, with Thursday and Friday night racing at Maywood and Saturday and Sunday night action at Balmoral. In addition, Balmoral and Maywood own and operate nine Off-Track Betting facilities in the Chicago-area, which offer daily Simulcast Wagering.   "We realize Advance Deposit Wagering is still unfamiliar to many horseplayers, and we feel this partnership will help bettors that are curious about online wagering get started with Xpressbet," said Xpressbet President, Ron Luniewski. "With the help of Balmoral's passionate, experienced and knowledgeable team, we're looking forward to promoting both live and online wagering to racing fans in Chicago."   Xpressbet and Balmoral each believe that creating smarter, more informed horseplayers is the key to generating interest and handle in horse racing. Consequently, Xpressbet and Balmoral's expert teams of handicappers will collaborate to produce helpful handicapping resources for horseplayers, including Wager Guides for top Harness and Thoroughbred events, as well as Tip Sheets, Free Picks, Handicapping Articles and Videos. Added Luniewski, "Along with Balmoral, Xpressbet is committed to growing the industry by both enhancing the experience for existing fans and attracting new audiences to the sport. This requires a seamless and integrated on-track and online experience. Providing additional free handicapping information to horseplayers is one way to achieve this, but it is also achieved through offering enhanced services, such as allowing customers to deposit and withdraw cash from their online accounts at customer service locations in Balmoral, Maywood and all nine of their OTB's. This level of convenience, common in other industries, will help horse racing build a stronger and more loyal customer base." Balmoral Park General Manager, Jim Hannon, remarked, "Partnerships like these are ultimately of great benefit to the industry. By affiliating with Xpressbet, we are able to pool our financial, human and intellectual resources to target racing fans and horseplayers in a more strategic and consistent fashion. This will generate more handle and interest in all facets of horse racing, both Thoroughbred and Harness, which is to everyone's benefit. We're excited to begin working with Xpressbet and look forward to growing racing's fan base." Horseplayers interested in signing up for an Xpressbet account can receive a $125 Welcome Bonus. Simply visit www.xpressbet.com and enter promo code BAM125 at Sign Up. About Xpressbet   Xpressbet provides legal and secure online wagering services to horseplayers in the United States. It is the industry's most comprehensive and user-friendly wagering site, allowing customers to wager on more than 300 of the world's best racetracks from their computer, phone or mobile device. Xpressbet operates XB SELECT, the industry's premier destination for high-volume wagering, and XB Net, which connects bet shops and wagering sites from around the world to North American racing. Xpressbet is a Stronach Group company, which also owns and operates Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness Stakes. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, the award-winning Adena Springs operation, AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and Monarch Content Management, horse racing's leading simulcast purchase and sales agent. Tom Kelley        

Night two of the Queensland winter harness racing carnival takes place at Albion Park this Saturday night. And what a star-studded program it is highlighted by the Gr.1 $100,000 Greg & Sharon Mitchell Queensland Oaks, a high quality field boasting outstanding depth with fillies from New Zealand, New South Wales and Victoria taking on the best local talents. The dominant combination of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have the two favourites for the event in the shape of multiple Oaks victor Fight For Glory plus the ultra-talented Linda Lovegrace, both have been impressive since arriving in Brisbane a few weeks ago. Fight For Glory is aiming for her fourth Oaks trophy this season following her success in the New South Wales, New Zealand and Gold Coast Oaks. The Art Major filly has drawn the second-line and Rasmussen is booked to drive. Other features include the Gr.2 $50,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4 & 5yo Championship, the Gr.3 $40,000 Mr Feelgood Gold Coast Derby, the Gr.3 $30,000 Burwood Stud Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes, the $20,000 Lunchbox Lodge Country Cup Final and the $20,000 Rising Stars Championship Final. Another highlight is the BOTRA Pink Pants Lady Drivers Invitation Race which features several high profile local and interstate drivers who are playing their role in raising awareness in breast cancer. Gambling giant UBET are offering several jackpots for punters including a guaranteed $30,000 Quadrella pool which will be staged on races 2, 3, 4 & 5. And Trot Tips is keen to get involved. “It’s another cracking meeting with so many highlights and features, the carnival started with a bang last week and I’m tipping it will be even better this week and the following week which wraps up the Albion Park side of things." "I’m predicting a Kiwi quinella in the Queensland Oaks with Linda Lovegrace the filly to beat from her ideal draw; hopefully we’re cashed up by then.” Trot Tips Mick Polster said. The Quadrella takes in several feature races and Polster believes early favourites look set to dominate. “In the opening leg which is the Country Cup Final, I’m keen on Our Leonardo and Gentle Western as the two to beat." "Our Leonardo was excellent in defeat first-up and looks a certain leader while Gentle Western is a classy pacer still on the rise, although beaten last week." "I’m expecting more from him on the weekend." "For added insurance I would include Nureyev, a strong heat winner last week." “In the Fleur De Lil, the two winning chances are classy mare Forever Gold who faces a gigantic class drop after running a cracking race last week in the Sunshine Sprint behind Avonnova and Smolda." "Natalie Rasmussen drives this week too." "Sweet Molly Oshea was luckless behind Bling It On last week in her local debut, draws perfectly and has the services of Luke McCarthy this week." “The Rising Stars Final is wide open with several winning hopes but I think the main chances rest with Change Of Mind, Mista Natural, Cougar Oriely, Girl With Fire, Major Coup and Lenny The Legend." "In the Gold Coast Derby I think Menin Gate is the obvious while Hug The Wind and Burnaholeinmypocket being the main threats, you could go one out with Menin Gate while the other two are the insurance." "I will play around with these runners and for varying amounts.” UBET also have a $30,000 trifecta jackpot on the opening race while $2000 First 4 jackpots are being staged on races 3, 5, 7 and 8. For further information from Trot Tips, visit the website – trottips.com The first race is scheduled to start at 5.05pm. Racing Queensland

At last weeks harness racing meetings, our selectors went okay with the exception of the Addington meeting where after the heavy rain, a lot of the races became a bit of a lottery. There were several selections that were well supported but really struggled in the slushy conditions so we have decided to put a line under last week and move on. For the record our selectors picked four winners via Tony Herlihy, John Dunn, Brad Williamson and Jim Curtin while another seven were first three finishers. This week we only have four meetings and we are a bit light at Auckland where a lot of our regulars are not engaged. Forbury Park - Thursday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Blade even from barrier 14 can win race 3  Matthew Williamson - Gives Sage from barrier one a real chance of winning race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thought Sheeza Shark was overdue and could win race 10   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Rates Lady J a big chance of clearing maidens in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes The Almighty Johnson to go back to back in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Reckons Paramount Dream can bounce back, also in race 4 Scott Phelan - Thought Happy To Go could leave maidens in race 8   Addington - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac will lead and be awfully hard to beat in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Tiger Tara can get a piece of the action, also in race 3 Terry Chimel - Expects improvement with driver change on Little Tess in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a good chance of winning race 8 Jim Curtin - Rates Lucky Fortune a big chance of winning race 9 Bob Butt - Waterloo Sunset is my best drive of the week in race 9 Tim Williams - Only drive on the night and will be trying hard in race 10 Sam Ottley - Opting for stable runner Secret Lotion in race 10.   Winton - Sunday afternoon Brad Williamson - Thinks River Patrol can go back to back in race 3 Clark Barron - Thought Mass Invasion could go one better this week and win race 4 Brendon McLellan - Forget Leigh Major's last run, she can win race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes Winton and will get the money in race 10 Harnesslink Media

Three racetracks in the state of New York have formed what they describe as a "unique and unprecedented" alliance to help better promote their harness racing products. The three racetracks - Empire City Casino, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Batavia Downs - will launch an online handicapping contest through their eBet Technologies-powered advance deposit wagering sites EmpireCityBets, SaratogaBets and BataviaBets. Throughout April, the sites will offer over $4,000 in prizes through contests that will be held every Friday night, featuring New York harness racing, with two separate contests to be conducted on alternate Saturdays, featuring Aqueduct and Keeneland racing content. Players from each site will pay into the same contest pool, marking the first time such a collaborative game has been launched by the trio. Alongside the regularly scheduled contests, syndicated handicapping content will be made available across each of the three ADW sites, with daily selections and analysis provided by pundits. The three racetracks praised the New York State Gaming Commission for supporting and assisting in launching the initiative. “Traditionally, racing entities have focused on brick and mortar outlets to host handicapping competitions, but we see tremendous potential in the online component,” Saratoga Casino and Raceway director of racing operations John Matarazzo said. “This alliance was forged to reach this expanding demographic and help re-define that segment of this industry.” Michael Kane, president and CEO of Batavia owners Western Region OTB added: “Working collectively with our partners in the New York racing industry is now more important than ever. “I would like to thank the New York State Gaming Commission for its approval of this concept, and we look forward to additional synergies amongst New York's racing stakeholders in the coming months.” Empire City Casino general manager Robert Galterio said that it was “imperative” that the racetracks continue such collective efforts to secure the future of horse racing in New York. Gaming Intelligence

On Saturday night, the gambling industry witnessed the perfect storm when the harness racing meet at Woodbine offered a one race wager that captivated the gambling world.   A combination of huge carryover, takeout reduced by more than 40 per cent to create the huge carryover, a twenty cent minimum and a mandatory payout gave the players a large advantage statistically resulting in a wager that paid out significantly more money than it took in.   The incredible value of the High Five would bring sports bettors, thoroughbred bettors, poker players and gamblers from around the world to invest in the greatest of wagering opportunities, resulting in a Woodbine High Five pool that would break all North American records.   The Saturday High Five wagers totaled a record $2,581,505. The carryover of $847,458 brought the total pool to $3,428,963, another North American record for harness racing. After the takeout of $387,225, the net pool was $3,041,738 creating a surplus to the winners of $460,232, a fact that was not lost on those investors that knew their mathematics.   The Hugh Five was raced and the result was the second most logical of all from a statistical point of view. The 4-5 favorite Camaes Fellow was victorious followed by the 4-1 second favorite,the7-1 third favorite, the 12-1 fifth favorite and the 11-1 fourth favorite. This fairly predictable finish resulted in 3,522 twenty cent winners. When the results were posted, even the most optimistic players in the game could not believe the payoff they were seeing. The payout was incredibly generous. We will make things easier by converting all race 11 wagers to a one dollar payout. The exacta paid $7.59, the trifecta paid $36.10 and the super paid $211.90. The High Five paid $4,317.55 for a buck. In other words, the High Five paid over twenty times the superfecta by simply adding the next favorite in the betting. The twenty cent price was $863.51. This unbelievable payout rewarded the players handsomely for successfully putting a winning ticket together on a bet that was from a pure numerical standpoint one of the greatest wagering opportunities ever offered. Thank you to all horseplayers for your hugesupport of low takeout wagers, making more of them possible. Handle for the eleven race card was a season high $4,696,209. It was extremely encouraging to see the tracks that were still racing, The Meadowlands, Balmoral and Cal Expo showing the Woodbine High Five race on their signal highlighting the most important race of the night. This is the type of cooperation that I hope we will see later this year for The North America Cup, The Meadowlands Pace, The International Trot, The Breeders Crown and others. Congratulations to Woodbine for an extraordinary job. Best wishes to Mohawk as they open up their expanded meeting with a ten race card on Thursday. Michael Antoniades  -  Chicago Racing Analyst  

When selecting an online wagering platform, you should ask yourself this important question: Does the platform help me maximize my winning potential? For AmWager.com customers, the answer is a resounding “yes.” AmWager takes pride in providing its players with the industry’s most lucrative rewards program and highest referral commissions. That is why AmWager is raising the stakes, and their players ROI, with the introduction of a Daily 10% Winner’s Bonus on gross winning tickets. Additionally, AmWager’s wager pad was designed by professional horseplayers and offers multiple sophisticated, yet user-friendly, money management and wagering tools that will benefit veteran players and newcomers alike. It’s a terrific combination that elevates AmWager.com above the crowd, and the player feedback has been tremendous. "Masterful, brilliant job accomplished by AmWager.com,” says D.Moore, a long-time member. “It’s the first on-line pari-mutuel platform that actually delivers a common sense approach that produces an enjoyable wagering experience. Wager pad construction is efficient and simple whether you are making one wager or multiple wagers.” “Congratulations to Amwager, they listened to their wagering clients and produced the greatest wagering site I have ever used. Thank you for raising the bar as well as my R.O.I.!!! " And now AmWager has upped the ante by providing their new Winner’s Bonus. Forget about signup bonuses. They can be hard to understand and are always short-term. With AmWager’s Winner’s Bonus, it’s simple. On a winning exotic wager, AmWager will deposit the earned additional Winner’s Bonus into a member’s account the very next day. The Winner’s Bonus details: ● Get 10% back on gross winning tickets ● Only exotics wagers are eligible (WPS bets are not eligible) ● All tracks and all breeds ● Bonuses are posted daily to your account ● A maximum daily bonus of $10 The Winner’s Bonus helps further demonstrate that AmWager puts the player first. AmWager, which is owned by AmWest Entertainment, believes that giving players daily incentives is vital to supporting the overall health of this sport we all love. “We extend the most generous rewards while striving to deliver the best economics for all players,” said AmWest CEO Nelson Clemmens, an experienced Thoroughbred owner and breeder. “We also will ensure that AmWager returns the highest possible revenues to support the sport of racing.” Lucrative rewards and referral programs put money back into a player’s pocket. And the Daily Winner’s Bonus is a powerful finishing kick. While these features are terrific, AmWager’s Wager Pad is like Secretariat in the Belmont – the competition is a long way back. AmWager’s impressive array of tools help players make smarter bets and capitalize on the new Win Bonus. Among these tools is the Dutching feature, which enables you to maximize your return on investment (ROI) by removing the inefficiencies from the traditional boxed wager. When you use a traditional box you are essentially spending the same dollar amount on each of your selections, even though they likely have different odds. Thus, you stand to make more money if a selection with the longer odds wins over a selection with shorter odds. But, what if you could improve this wager to maximize your ROI regardless of which of your selections crossed the wire first? That’s exactly what the mathematics behind the Dutching tool can do! With a few simple clicks the Dutching tool, which is unique to AmWager, takes your total wager amount and divides it between your selections based on their current odds to make the best use of your total wager. Selections with shorter odds will get a larger percentage of the total wager while those with longer odds will get a smaller percentage, so that the potential payout in the end is maximized. You might call it a “Smart Box” in that it helps you to exploit the full potential of your dollar. And that’s the very essence of AmWager – maximizing your ROI and ability to win.

Boom local Guaranteed is now a clear favourite for Victorian harness racing’s two biggest events. Following a weekend of impressive wins and questions raised, Guaranteed is topping TAB’s Fixed Odds markets for the Victoria and A G Hunter Cup. The Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin-trained stallion is $5 for the Victoria Cup, which is scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 31. Guaranteed was $6 when markets opened last month, with Beautide favourite at $4. Beautide is now on the fourth line of betting at $7 after being scratched from last Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup. The James Rattray-trained gelding hasn’t races since his second behind Christen Me in the Miracle Mile last November. Beautide was also nominated for the Ballarat Cup on December 13, but Rattray elected not to accept due to a setback. An ultra-impressive winner of Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup, Christen Me is at $5.50 along with Philadelphia Man – a stablemate of Guranteed – which has come in from $10. Although he hasn’t raced since beating Guaranteed in the Vicbred Final last July, Lennytheshark has been a surprise market mover on the strength of his strong tial. A member of the David Aiken stable, Lennytheshark’s quote has come in from $31 to $21. Beautide was also the early favourite for the Hunter Cup on February 7, but Rattray decided to bypass the event when it became obvious the son of Bettors Delight wouldn’t meet the conditions. To qualify for the time-honoured event, candidates must have completed a satisfactory standing start under race conditions. Beautide hasn’t raced from behind the tapes since April 2013. Originally posted at $6, along with New Zealand mare, Adore Me, Guranteed is a clear favourite at $4.50, with Adore Me next at $5.50 for trainer Mark Purdon. Christen Me and Terror To Love are at $6, with Philadelphia Man on $9. Following his demolition of yesterday’s Hamilton Cup field, proven campaigner, Restrepo, has been the biggest market mover. Also hailing from the Stewart/Tonkin camp, Restrepo had his price slashed from $21 to $12, giving the power couple three of the top six Hunter Cup prospects. There have been several adjustments over the past few days the most notable being Restrepo which firmed from $21 to $12 for the stand-start Hunter Cup following his impressive win in the Hamilton Pacing Cup today. He remains at $21 for the Victoria Cup (unchanged). PAUL COURTS

The Quad City Downs track and pari-mutuel wagering facility will close at the end of January 2015. This story was first reported by Shellie Nelson and Brittany Lewis for WQAD TV 8.   Plans for the shutdown were announced in early January 2015. “Due to the state of the industry as well as continued dramatic decreases in pari-mutuel wagering since 2001, Quad City Downs will cease operations effective close of business January 31, 2015,” said a January 9, 2015 statement from Tony Petrillo, General Manager of the venue’s owner, Arlington International. “For those of us that remember it in its heyday, it’s an extreme disappointment,” said East Moline Mayor John Thodos. Employees were reportedly notified January 7 of the plan to close the facility. “We appreciate the patronage and loyalty of our customers over the years,” Supporters complained that Illinois did not do enough to support horse racing in the state. “Sad. We held out hope for a long time,” said John Barton, who worked at the Quad City Downs for 13 years, “The people that worked here, I would almost guarantee to the last one would say that it was the best job they ever had.” The announcement followed the news that two of the oldest horse racing venues in the country – including the only harness racing track in Illinois – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in Chicago in late December 2014 according to the United States Trotting Association. To view the video clip of the story click here.

Today’s TAB.com.au Summer of Glory launch at Zinc in Melbourne’s CBD will forever change the way Harness Racing Victoria approaches its summer jewels – the Victoria and Hunter Cups. A two-night harness racing spectacular has been revealed, to be hosted at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday January 31 (TAB Victoria Cup night) and Saturday February 7 (Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night), with over $1.4 million in stakemoney to be awarded over 20 races. But just as important as the Summer of Glory carnival itself was the announcement of an early nominations cut-off date of December 19 for the Victorian and Hunter Cups, which allows HRV’s wagering partner, TAB.com.au, to run futures markets on the two cup races. This opens up enormous promotional opportunities for the Summer of Glory carnival, with all races between December 19 and the Victoria and Hunter Cups potentially impacting long-term markets. “This announcement allows the TAB to set fixed odds markets on the Victoria and Hunter Cup well ahead of time, generating discussion on social media and across traditional forms of media for weeks in the lead-up to the events,” HRV Marketing Manager Brett Boyd said. “Every time a race is run from December 19 involving horses that are nominated for the Hunter Cup or the Victoria Cup, those two big races can be mentioned, because the results of all races can have an impact on the fixed odds markets.” HRV Chief Operating Officer Brant Dunshea said adjusting the nomination dates was an important step in embracing the changing wagering landscape. “The changes were made to facilitate wagering on early fixed odds markets,” Dunshea said. “The growth of fixed odds is becoming more and more significant in the wagering landscape. “These changes also allow for the opportunity to promote these races through the media as the markets adjust.” HRV Communications and Media Manager Cody Winnell said fixed odds markets would secure harness racing more media exposure. “This announcement will help generate conversation about harness racing and that can only benefit the industry,” he said. “We need to have our product front and centre in what is a competitive sporting media landscape here in Victoria. The conversation that comes with fixed odds betting will help facilitate this.” There is no fee for owners to nominate horses for the Victoria or Hunter Cup before December 19. Further details to the conditions are available on Harness Racing Australia’s Industry News page. Harness Racing Victoria

Yonkers Raceway is readying for the international intrigue that comes with the debut of Sunday simulcasting to France.   The first of the Raceway’s six Sunday matinee racing programs—post time 11 AM—goes this weekend, offering any number of handicapping variables.   The Sunday cards are going to be front-loaded with trotters, with the overseas audience wagering on the first five races. Those events are all added-distance (1¼ miles) with higher purses and oversized fields (12, 12, 10, 10 and 10 horses, respectively).   Included in that quintet is a dozen-horse Open, which goes as the second race during the 12-race dossier.      The half-dozen Sundays, running through Dec. 14th, inclusive, replace five Tuesday nights (Nov. 11th through Dec. 9th).   The overseas pool cannot be comingled, so the French betting won’t be included here. Toward that end, Yonkers is altering (at least for the first Sunday) the wagering format for some of the early Sunday races.   Race 1 – no triple Race 2 – no triple, no Pick 3 Race 3 – no superfecta, no Pick 4 Race 4 – no Pick 3.    “We’re optimistic our Sundays are going to prove popular,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. “None of this works without the help of any number of groups, including our horsemen, the New York State Gaming Commission,the French PMU and simulcast partners who have accommodated our schedule change.”   As mentioned earlier, Yonkers is enticing both its evening regulars and the Sunday early risers with any number of freebies, including…   A free Sunday live program with the purchase of a Saturday live program, advance wagering for YR’s Sunday races is available all day Saturday) Free Sunday breakfast (egg sandwich and coffee) trackside between 10 AM-12 Noon (mutuel windows open at 10:30 AM) Free Sunday bets--a $2 daily double (races 1 & 2) and $1 exacta box (races 2, 3, 4 & 5)--to the first 200 existing (or newly-enrolled) Empire Club members between 10 AM-11 AM (all tickets are “quick picks”) Also, there’s a free promotional gift (while supplies last) and a chance to win dinner for two at any of restaurants on premises.   All Empire City members receive a free, dollar-box triple wager (not a “quick pick”) for Sunday’s third race, while selected ECB members are eligible for a $10 bet/get for wagers made on the first five “French” races.   In addition to Empire City Bets, there are several other ADW’s which are offering special incentives for those wagering on these Sunday matinees. Frank Drucker      

A recent poll found that 58% of all football fans would rather watch a game at home instead of going to the stadium as a result of convenience, comfort and new technology. For the last decade, harness racing fans feel the same thanks to online wagering from ADW's (Account Deposit Wagering) sites.

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