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National HBPA's Spring Meeting, ADW's, immigration, etc.
National HBPA

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2007

During two days of meetings on April 17th and 18th, the National HBPA Executive Committee met in Lexington, KY to act on a wide range of issues highlighted by:

• The debate over advance deposit wagering (ADW) companies and exclusivity agreements;
• Current immigration reform efforts in Washington, D.C. and;
• The formation of TrackNet Media Group, and its possible effect on National HBPA member horsemen.

The committee recognized the importance of the simlucasting marketplace and the key role played therein by ADWs. The committee, however, took a decidedly more negative stance regarding the practice by distributors of signing exclusive agreements with track operators. In certain cases, horsemen’s groups have been asked to consent to the sending of their simulcast signal in a routine way but without any disclosure that the nature of the agreement was to be exclusive, giving the distributor the rights to send the signal or not send the signal to others – a right reserved to sending and receiving horsemen’s groups and racing commissions under the 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act.

As a result, the committee unanimously passed a resolution which it will recommend for adoption by the National HBPA Board of Directors when it next meets July 19 -22, 2007. The resolution (see attached) addresses how local horsemen’s groups must assure that all material facts have been disclosed and remain the same before and after their consent to signal use has been granted.

The committee also met with representatives of the NTRA and the American Horse Council to discuss the status of federal immigration reform legislation. With debate on Capitol Hill heating up, the National HBPA will analyze two key bills – The Summary of Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007 (STRIVE ACT of 2007) and the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007 (AgJOBS). During the next 30 days, the National HBPA will collect input from member horsemen and provide both the NTRA and AHC with a list of priorities representative of its horsemen’s needs in any future legislation - such as year-round work visas and the portability of those visas interstate.

On Wednesday morning, the committee met with TrackNet Media Group President Scott Daruty and Vice President Patrick Troutman to air concerns which have arisen since TrackNet’s launch. Key issues discussed related to the preservation of horsemen’s rights under the IHA; exclusivity and full disclosure and; combating off-shore piracy and illegal rebating.

Said National HBPA President Joe Santanna: “To a person, the sense was that this was one of our most enlightening and productive meetings. In particular, I feel that we left the representatives of TrackNet with a clear understanding that we have concerns and that we will be very diligent in how we all – TrackNet, horsemen, tracks and ADW providers – proceed from here. Needless to say, we are encouraging our Affiliates to take a close hard look at any and all agreements”

Santanna also presented the committee with the outline of a possible long-term funding plan designed to assist permanently disabled jockeys and horsemen. The plan would require the participation of all stakeholders including jockeys. The committee approved the continued development of the plan and asked Santanna to report back to the full Board at its July meeting, after discussing it with industry groups.

RESOLUTION

Diligence in Contracting for Simulcasting and Advance Deposit Wagering Companies

(Passed Unanimously by the National HBPA Executive Committee on April 18, 2007)

Whereas, simulcasting or advance deposit wagering is an important current and future source of revenue to horsemen;

Whereas, advance deposit wagering companies represent a significant part of the simulcasting marketplace;

Whereas, one or more advance deposit wagering companies seek and/or have obtained agreements with racetracks which by the terms of the agreements, by business practices or by both, have resulted in or could result in significant portions of the simulcasting markets becoming inaccessible for simulcasting.

Whereas, one of the terms of the agreements which has resulted in or which could result in significant portions of the simulcasting markets being inaccessible for simulcasting is the grant of exclusivity by racetracks to a single advance deposit wagering company;

Whereas each horsemen’s group must decide whether to or not to grant its consent to such agreements with advance deposit wagering companies, and

Whereas, other restrictive terms or clauses in agreements between racetracks and advance deposit wagering companies or others have resulted in or could result in significant portions of the simulcasting or advance deposit wagering marketplace being inaccessible and thereby lacking in competition;

Whereas each horsemen’s group must be aware of the presence of such exclusive terms and must consider the favorable and unfavorable impact of such terms based on that horsemen’s groups peculiar circumstances.

Therefore, be it resolved that each horsemen’s group exercise due care in examining the terms of simulcast agreements before exercising any right of consent to simulcasting agreements.

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