Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Interstate wagering on horseracing confirmed by new US online gambling law

A new US federal law will make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process online gaming payments from the US. It is expected to be signed by President Bush in the coming two weeks and enter into force in the coming 9 months.

While the foreign gambling sites and their investors are still counting their losses, the US horseracing industry welcomes the new law, which recognizes their ability to offer account wagering under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 as amended.

"This is a very significant landmark recognition by the U.S. government of our industry's legal right to conduct wagering under the IHA and of our industry's important position as an agribusiness that supports 500,000 jobs," said Greg Avioli, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Breeders' Cup Limited. "The bill also includes language that will prevent the addition of harmful elements in any rulemaking required by the bill. This language was crucial for our industry."

Passage of this legislation is a major victory for the horse racing and breeding industry and culminates an eight-year effort to protect the industry's right to conduct state licensed and regulated account wagering, the fastest growing segment of pari-mutuel wagering.

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $20 million in purses and awards and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City.

The affected online gambling sites are foreign and are listed on the stock exchanges of London, Stockholm and Vienna. They saw their market value collapse by over 50% in the last couple of days. They are expected to refocus their business on European and Asian markets, where they are in most countries also illegal.