US District Court rules on Horse handicapping contests

US District Court rules on Horse handicapping contests

May 19, 2017 12:58 PM

A U.S. District Court has ruled that entry fees paid in horse handicapping contests are considered wagers under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978.

The ruling is considered a victory for The Stronach Group, owner of Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Pimlico and other tracks nationwide, in its legal battle the contest site DerbyWars,

As part of the partial summary judgment released May 15 by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Judge S. James Otero agreed with The Stronach Group, that entry fees paid at the DerbyWars site constitute a wager. DerbyWars maintains that its games are comparable to fantasy contests and entry fees at the site do not meet the definition of bets or wagers under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006.

The court said that DerbyWars is acting as an off-track betting outlet in the states where The Stronach Group’s racetracks operate.

The case marks the first time racetracks have taken legal action against a horse racing contest site, reports BloodHorse magazine, a major industry publication. The Stronach Group is seeking monetary damages in an amount to be determined at trial. DerbyWars said it is evaluating its options to appeal.

Racing contest sites online have proliferated in recent years, offering players a chance to compete by selecting the winners at tracks throughout North America. It remains unclear if The Stronach Group will attempt to seek additional revenue from contests that are not conducted online, but offer a series of mythical wagers after an entry fee is paid.