Autotote’s Conn. cable plan approved

Oct 14, 2003 5:46 AM

Home wagering got a big boost in Connecticut last week when the Gaming Policy Board agreed to permit the televising of horse and dog racing over Connecticut cable television stations.

The plan had been submitted by Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) whose wholly owned division, Autotote Enterprises runs off-track betting locations throughout the state. State approval will permit the totalizator company to televise the races right into the homes enabling fans to see the races they have bet on.

"This is an important victory for racing, not only in Connecticut, but across the country," remarked Lorne Weil, company chairman and CEO.

"Connecticut already authorizes telephone wagering accounts through its network of OTBs and televising the races will enable fans to see the races they’ve bet on. It will also benefit racing itself, by making it more visible to a wider audience and attracting more fans."

Weil did not indicate when the telecasts would actually begin but indicated that arrangements will be made as soon as possible.

However, a complication developed over the weekend when the Gaming Policy Board ruled that Autotote could not advertise its home betting service during the cable television shows. The company said it will appeal.

In another matter, the company reported that MacAndrews & Forbes Holding Inc., a privately held firm run by financier Ron Perelman, has agreed to pay Cirmatica Gaming, a subsidiary of Italian Lottery Group Lottomatica $194 million for a 24% stakes it holds in Scientific Games Corporation.

The transaction will make the investment firm the largest stockholder in Scientific Games and will give Perelman the right to nominate four members of the company’s board. The deal is expected to close in early December.

Although this will be Perelman’s first major move on the gaming scene, he will not be a stranger to Las Vegas regulators. Several years ago, Perelman was represented by gaming lawyer Frank Schreck as an applicant for a gaming license in Nevada. The license was granted but never used.