CHRB Approves Magna, TVG

25 January 2002

The California Horse Racing Board voted yesterday to allow Magna Entertainment Corp. and Television Games Network to begin taking advance deposit wagers on horse races via telephone and the Internet.

On Thursday the CHRB met for six hours before a standing-room only crowd in Monrovia to consider four applications from companies wanting to operate advance deposit wagering systems in the state. While Magna and TVG were approved, the applications of and Autotote Enterprises were put on hold until they are complete.

Magna will be offering its wagering services through its subsidiary, XpressBet, formerly known as Call-A-Bet. Jim McAlpine, Magna's president and CEO, said the wagering platform would be available to bettors by Saturday. TVG's president and CEO, Mark Wilson, said his company's service would be available immediately.

XpressBet will be accepting bets on races at the Santa Anita winter meet, Golden Gate Fields, Bay Meadows and Capitol Racing at Cal Expo and out-of-state tracks. TVG will be taking bets from all races run at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, Fairplex and the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita.

Horse racing news site reported Friday that Autotote withdrew its application from the board, but Mike Marten, spokesman for the board, said the company made a presentation at the meeting along with the other three companies and is still eligible for approval if it can find racetracks to contract with. released a statement Friday saying its application was deferred due to procedural issues relating to its posting of the required bond.

To receive licenses, companies must pay a $500,000 bond and provide the board with evidence that they have the financial wherewithal to operate an advance deposit wagering system. The companies must also have contracts with racetracks and horsemen, established security access policies, the ability to protect account information and block access to people under age 18, and have agreed to include contact information for a problem gambling support group in their promotions.

On Jan. 18 the California Office of Administrative Law approved the set of 14 regulations governing advance deposit wagering that the CHRB passed on Nov. 30.