11 August 2007

Woodbine Doesn't Give A Rat's Ass About The Bettor

UPDATE: I found this doing a quick internet search. And it appears WEG is guilty of not abiding by it:

Competition Act

The Competition Act is Canada’s antitrust legislation. The purpose of this Act is to maintain and encourage fair competition in Canada. It regulates trade and commerce activities and monitors trade practices. For example, mergers and acquisitions that can reduce competition are often subject to review by the Competition Tribunal. The Act may be conveniently divided into three principal areas: criminal offences, civil offences and merger regulation.

The Competition Bureau is responsible for administration and enforcement of the Competition Act. Its role is to promote and maintain fair competition so that Canadians can benefit from lower prices and product choices.
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A simple violation is that Canadians can't open up accounts to bet on Ellis Park with US ADW's to take advantage of the 4% takeout on Win 4's, but they takeout 25-28% on the Win 4 if a Canadian were to hit it with WEG.

Signing deals which don't let Canadians bet on Laurel to take advantage of the 10% takeout is another.

Signing collusive deals that do not let Canadians in their non rebate areas get rebates from other ADW's. For example, Brisbet recently gave 10 points back for betting on Mountaineer a couple of Friday nights ago.

Signing collusive deals that stipulate that Canadians can not set up accounts with the buyer of their signals


Here is a link to Canada's position on competition with regards to North America

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Yesterday, WEG cut off Premier Turf Club. Here is their press release:

WEG Cuts Off Premier Turf Club

August 10, 2007

Woodbine Entertainment Group announced today that it has cut off Premier Turf Club for breach of their simulcast contract, effective immediately.

According to a statement posted on the WEG website, the organization cautiously allowed Premier Turf Club to participate in its pools recently after agreeing on specific terms and an appropriate host fee. These terms clearly indicated that Premier Turf Club was not permitted to take account wagers from Canadian residents but WEG has indisputable evidence that they signed up a resident from WEG's home market area and permitted the account holder to wager on Woodbine.

"We are very disheartened by the issue", said Sean Pinsonneault, WEG's vice president of Wagering Services. "We acted in good faith with Premier Turf Club and they demonstrated just the opposite. It's a shame that it had to come to this but we are not prepared to do business with rogue operators under any conditions. Operators such as this threaten the integrity and viability of our industry's pari-mutuel system."

(WEG)
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Premier Turf Club responded:

As of today, Premier Turf Club will no longer be permitted to accept wagers on Woodbine races. PTC inadvertently allowed an Ontario resident, Sanny Lee to place a $1 wager on a Woodbine event yesterday. We believe this wager was placed as a result of a hub error, as Ontario residents should not have been permitted access to the Woodbine pools.

While we respect WEG’s decision, we at Premier Turf Club firmly believe in open access of all signals to residents of all countries where internet wagering is permitted. We are naturally quite disappointed that WEG believes all Canadian residents must play only through the Canadian ADW. We feel this lack of choice works against race tracks, horsemen and horse players alike. Further we strongly disagree as to the characterization of this mistake as an “event that undermines the integrity of the game”, and are disappointed at the level of rhetoric WEG chose to use.

We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and to WEG.
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When it comes to Woodbine's integrity and the integrity of the race tracks in general, check this out. In fact, read this whole thread at Pace Advantage's Forum.

Getting back to Woodbine and their total disregard for the gambler:

1. They didn't want PTC to have any members from all of Canada, not just the Canadians who "benefit" from HPI's paltry rewards.

2. They whine about competition like Betfair and other offshore gambling houses that compete for the gambler by giving the gambler an actual chance to win money in the long run by reducing takeout through smaller commissions or larger rebates.

3. It is not illegal for a Canadian to bet with Brisbet, Youbet, etc. But WEG has bullied it's way in an attempt to be a Canadian monopoly by signing collusion deals with these companies. WEG won't take Americans and these companies won't take Canadians. Of course, this goes against the rights of the gambler (the CPMA should look into this). In fact, it is pretty much criminal. Integrity? Yeah right.

4. Woodbine, in taking Ellis Park and their 4% take out Win Four, jacks up their commission in a way that if someone wins the bet on HPI they get paid off as if the takeout was 25-28% (whatever HPI's rip off rate is for triactor wagering).

5. HPI didn't carry Laurel yesterday and probably won't for the entire 10 days of the Laurel meet, because Laurel is experimenting with an 11-12% track takeout. Of course, Canadians can't bet on Laurel with Bris or Youbet, etc., because of Woodbines collusive practices.

Here is a letter sent by "Trying To Win" (not me) on the Pace Advantage Board. It was posted by him last night:
"Hello:

I just read a press release from some of the WEG flunkeys and their unfair denigration of PREMIER TURF CLUB. Talk about sleazy, underhanded tactics to justify cancelling a contract with an above-board ADW company like PTC. These WEG flunkeys should hang their heads in shame.

I'm a customer at PTC and make the occasional bet through HORSEPLAYER INTERACTIVE as well. However, after finding out about these low-down tactics of WEG, I'll be looking into sending my WOODBINE/MOHAWK harness bets through an offshore racebook now. And I'll tell all my horseplayer friends to shun WEG, and your cheapskate, two-bit betting outfit called HPI. I'll advise these friends to wager somewhere else,where the betting companies have scruples, and actually have generous cash rewards and superior customer service (such as PREMIER TURF CLUB has, and WEG does not appear to have these virtues).

May WEG go bankrupt in the near future.
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Personally, I've seen enough of Woodbine's idiocy and greed. They have a dinosaur mentality that is prevalent in the industry. They don't get that lowering the takeout means more money and more gamblers in the long run, and they don't care, because they don't need to thanks to slots.
All they do is whine and bitch and bully when it comes to competition. That isn't what capitalism is about. And I'm into capitalism.
I will not bet another dime through HPI. There are many other alternatives. I just started doing daily track variants for Ellis Park and Mountaineer, for example.

9 comments:

TX 1 student said...

"As of today, Premier Turf Club will no longer be permitted to accept wagers on Woodbine races. PTC inadvertently allowed an Ontario resident, Sanny Lee to place a $1 wager on a Woodbine event yesterday."

Woodbine is a real class act. Can they stoop any lower?

But enough talk. What can we as horseplayers do to introduce competition and break this god damn monopoly ??? Complain to the Cdn pari mutuel agency?

Cangamble said...

I think the CPMA should be drilled about WEG's collusive practices for starters.
What WEG is doing is most likely illegal, but I don't know enough about international laws and Canadian laws.
In a way they are price fixing and gauging. They are forcing Canadians to buy their product at their price.

Cangamble said...

I found this doing a quick internet search. And it appears WEG is guilty of not abiding by it:

Competition Act

The Competition Act is Canada’s antitrust legislation. The purpose of this Act is to maintain and encourage fair competition in Canada. It regulates trade and commerce activities and monitors trade practices. For example, mergers and acquisitions that can reduce competition are often subject to review by the Competition Tribunal. The Act may be conveniently divided into three principal areas: criminal offences, civil offences and merger regulation.

The Competition Bureau is responsible for administration and enforcement of the Competition Act. Its role is to promote and maintain fair competition so that Canadians can benefit from lower prices and product choices.

TX 1 student said...

hmm.. so what we need to do is submit a formal complaint to the competition bureau here in Canada.

someone will have to document how WEG's monopoly on betting is limiting the selection of tracks, takeout rates, methods of betting, etc.. basically how the horseplayer is being slowly screwed

maybe an online petition could be started too..

Cangamble said...

I suggest contacting the CPMA and then the competition Bureau and at least alert them of WEGs potential international and domestic offenses.

Woodbine said...

There appears to be some confusion surrounding the WEG press release and the corresponding response from Premier Turf Club, so here are the facts.

1. PTC & WEG Sign Contract – PTC pursued and willingly signed a legal simulcast contract to take wagers on Woodbine racing products. The terms of the agreement included the statement, “Under no circumstances is Guest (PTC) permitted to conduct account wagering with Canadian residents.” This is in section 1 of the agreement and in bold lettering to ensure clarity. There is no room for interpretation with this clause and it is clearly not limited to Woodbine product or residents from Ontario. The purpose of this clause is to ensure that WEG does not aid and abet someone breaching the Criminal Code of Canada which clearly states that an entity not licensed in Canada is breaking the law when it accepts or offers to accept a bet from a Canadian resident on a horse race. WEG is therefore obligated to enforce the clause or put its own license in jeopardy.

2. PTC Violates Contract – WEG learned shortly thereafter of other Canadian players wagering through their site and we were able to get the necessary proof. This evidence has been supported further by Canadian customers reporting through these various blogs that they had been betting through PTC. This violation is clearly not a one time mistake and is definitely not a “hub error” as PTC would like you to believe because PTC is the one responsible for setting up the accounts.

3. WEG Terminates Contract – This evidence has proven without a doubt that the contract that PTC signed with us had been breached and we terminated the agreement.

It is unfortunate to learn that there are operators that choose to execute contracts but have no intention to follow them. Simulcast contracts are required for a reason and they clearly did not live up to their commitments. Mr. Ian Meyers of PTC stated in his press release, “While we respect WEG’s decision, we at Premier Turf Club firmly believe in open access of all signals to residents of all countries where internet wagering is permitted. We are naturally quite disappointed that WEG believes all Canadian residents must play only through the Canadian ADW.” This quote clearly demonstrates Mr. Meyer’s lack of understanding of Canadian criminal law as stipulated in point 1.

Woodbine

Cangamble said...

Woodbine, could you please cite what part of the Criminal Code states that it is illegal to take bets from Canadian citizens when not licensed in Canada?
I went to Aruba and bet there on different race tracks. Was Aruba breaking the law too? I also made bets in Vegas, and can go to any American racetrack and make bets too.

Are American racetracks licensed in Canada?

Cangamble said...

Here is legal opinion I read about Betfair:

Betfair also offers its services in Canada, where its legal status is somewhat uncertain. The Criminal Code of Canada effectively prohibits private individuals from operating an online gambling website in Canada. The Canadian provinces are permitted to offer sports betting and all provinces do through the Sport Select program, but offering single sports betting (Betfair's forte) is prohibited even to the provinces. On the other hand, an individual placing a bet (even a single sports bet) from within Canada to a foreign website is not violating the Criminal Code. As a result, Betfair's services are considered to be grey market in Canada - no laws are broken when a Canadian bets with Betfair, but the Canadian courts could not likely be used to resolve disputes either. In addition, not all Canadian credit cards can be used to deposit money with Betfair. This is because the credit card departments of some Canadian financial institutions are intertwined with American firms, meaning Betfair cannot be certain of the nationality of the card number.
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From what I understand, it is illegal for an unlicensed operator to operate within Canada, but they can accept bets if they operate outside of Canada, and it is legal for Canadians to bet with them.

Woodbine, of course you'll come through and prove me wrong. Or you won't reply:)

Anonymous said...

Hello "Woodbine",

I am not sure where it says someone can not place a bet on your product as a Canadian from the US or anywhere. I would be delighted for you to point this out.

Also, I noticed that you folks took some potential "liberties" when HPI was started. The ORC asked for the courts to look at what you were doing?

During that debate I had to have a chuckle at the quotes. One in the thoroughbred times (Sep 4th/04) certainly fits today. This was from Eaves.

Nick Eaves, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Woodbine, criticized the commission's request from the court as being counterproductive to its duties to promote horse racing.

"And essentially, what they're doing is being the instigator in an action which, if successful, would have the effect of discontinuing one of the only recent services in the Ontario racing business that's actually attracting new customers and really performing in a way that our customers have told us they want."

So, imo, you are incredibly hypocritical, and it helps explain why most of us have left you as customers. PTC is attracting new customers, your customers/potential new customers have asked for a place like PTC, but if you don't own us, you don't like it, and find a way to discontinue the signal. It's funny when the shoe is on the other foot eh?

Does that about sum things up?