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Volume 25 No. 30
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Sports Betting Fallout: Horse Tracks Could Start Hosting Sports Books

Horse racing has "long envisioned sports betting as a potential stimulus to the struggling industry," and architects representing The Stronach Group "already have checked out some of the most expansive sports books at Las Vegas casinos for ideas on hosting similar facilities at its tracks," according to Mike Tierney of the L.A. TIMES. Stronach Group COO Tim Ritvo said, "We would pursue (a sports book) at every one of our racetracks." With its vast amount of space, Santa Anita Park could "physically accommodate sports betting better than any other prospective site in California." Ritvo, referring to the Vegas sports books, said, "We have a million square feet. ... That's the kind of rooms we'd want to build" (L.A. TIMES, 5/15). DAILY RACING FORM's Matt Hegarty noted Monmouth Park has "already built a sports-betting facility on its grounds" and has partnered with U.K. bookmaker William Hill to "run the bookmaking operation." Monmouth Park is operated by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, "meaning benefits from any sports-wagering operation will flow at least indirectly to the racing industry." However, it is not clear "at all in other jurisdictions whether an expansion of sports betting will have a negative or positive impact on horse racing, which has not fared well when faced with more competitors in the gambling marketplace" (DRF.com, 5/14).

Churchill Downs' gaming facility could be converted or expanded to include a full-service sports book
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ON YOUR MARKS: In Louisville, Tim Sullivan notes Churchill Downs Inc. is "well-positioned to pounce." According to the company's calculations, its TwinSpires.com is "already the nation's largest legal mobile and online wagering platform." If Kentucky politicians "clear the way for gambling on games ... it's easy to imagine TwinSpires.com rapidly extending its reach into football, basketball and other sports." Similarly, it is "easy to imagine" Churchill Downs' gaming facility "being converted or expanded from 600 historical racing machines to include a full-service sports book" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/15).