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Quebec Racing & Wagering Update


Published: November 6, 2009 2:11 pm ET

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Since the shutdown of harness racing and pari-mutuel wagering in Quebec, many in the province have been left wondering how they can watch and bet on racing. Trot Insider recently spoke with representatives from the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency for an update on Quebec's betting and racing future.

"The CPMA's role in this process is to respond to betting applications and permits," said director of operations Ron Nichol. "As of today, we haven't received any applications."

Recently, Woodbine Entertainment Group's Nick Eaves told Trot Insider that WEG does have interest in Quebec's telephone and internet account wagering market.

In the event that the CPMA did receive an application, there are steps that need to be taken to approve and issue the permit.

"The amount of time it would take would depend on the application," said Rande Sawchuk, director of policy and planning. "Of course a live racing permit would take longer than a permit for telephone account betting.

"With telephone account betting (TAB), we'd have to examine their platform," continued Sawchuk, "and if [the platform] wasn't in place, what would the time lines would be for it to be up and running."

Part of a TAB application requires that a home market area (HMA) is specified. The HMA could include a section or the entire province of Quebec.

Nichol went on to say that this process doesn't have any sort of time line with respect to applications being due. In other words, if a company or organization was the first to apply with a suitable proposal they could conceivably be granted a permit provided the application was approved by the province of Quebec.

"Before we issue the permit, the application has to be approved and recommended by the Government [of Quebec]," stated Nichol.

In 2008, combined wagering on Canadian horse racing from Montreal's wagering hub alone -- simulcast, internet and telephone -- surpassed $115 million. Including the other three former track locations in Aylmer, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec, that total is $135 million. That represents $11 million per month lost from the pools at Canadian racetracks.

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