LOS ANGELES, California -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Illinois residents can now place bets for the first time ever on horse races around the world at TVG.com, the largest, legal online wagering company in the U.S. Today, the Illinois Racing Board licensed TVG to accept wagers from Illinois residents, making this the first time that advance deposit wagering is legal in the state.
To commemorate the occasion, TVG will provide a $50 free trial offer for Illinois residents who create accounts at TVG.com. Additionally, TVG will provide extensive on-track television programming live from the Hawthorne racecourse in Chicago.
"Just in time for the Hawthorne races and Zenyatta to race in the Breeder's Cup, Illinois' racing fans can experience the thrill of betting online at TVG.com," said Gerard Cunningham, president of Betfair US, parent company of TVG. "No other online wagering site offers the number of tracks, secures your money, or engages with its community like TVG.com."
Illinois - home to a significant horse breeding industry, three Thoroughbred and two Standardbred tracks - joins a growing number of states that have approved online wagering on horseracing including California, New York, Kentucky, and Maryland, among others.
The introduction of regulated online wagering in Illinois will provide an additional revenue stream for the state's horseracing industry - including horse owners, racetracks and horsemen's groups. For every wager placed on a race by an Illinois resident at TVG.com, the Illinois horseracing industry will now receive a percentage of the profits. Additionally, TVG will heavily promote all Illinois racing on its television and wagering platforms, as well as advertising within the state of Illinois.
"We believe that legal, regulated online betting will help reinvigorate the horseracing industry in Illinois," said Cunningham. "The convenience of being able to wager online, or away from home with your cell phone, will help attract a new audience and generation to racing."
Americans have already wagered close to $6.5 billion on horseracing this year alone, with about 10 percent of bets placed online. There are more than 55,000 races around the U.S. every year, and TVG broadcasts 27,000 races each year on its television network.
In 2008, TVG.com accepted more than $500 million in wagers from customers across the U.S. The TVG television network, which is broadcast into more than 33 million homes across the U.S., is already available in Illinois through distributors including Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network and Media One. Earlier this year, TVG and TVG.com were acquired by Betfair Ltd., the largest, legal online wagering company in the world.