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Kevin Smith

Youbet Announces Chinese Racing Venture

15 February 2005

Citing a desire to tap into the largest Internet population in the world, has announced plans to launch a non-wagering, Chinese-language site in mainland China.

"We're launching the China site to be in a position to capitalize on opportunities that could arise if the mainland Chinese government acts to legalize aspects of online gaming."
- Chuck Champion

The company is currently building the site, which it hopes to launch before the end of the second quarter of 2005. The site will be accessible only from the mainland and will initially feature coverage of races held at Sam Houston Race Park, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs and the Meadowlands during daytime hours in China. It will mirror aspects of the U.S. Web platform in simplified Chinese and is intended to extend Youbet's brand awareness by exposing Chinese Web users to U.S. racing. Visitors will be asked to register for free trial memberships, which entitle them to access races and related race information from participating U.S. tracks.

The site isn't expected to generate much revenue in the early going, but Youbet Chairman Chuck Champion said the company is thinking more about its long-term goal of establishing a global presence.

"We're launching the China site to be in a position to capitalize on opportunities that could arise if the mainland Chinese government acts to legalize aspects of online gaming," Champion said.

Gambling is illegal in China, but several movements are afoot to legalize pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.

A $50-million track recently opened in Beijing, and another $180 million has been committed for a racing complex in the populous Hubei Province in east central China.

While wagering services aren't planned for the immediate future, movement on the legalization front has prompted Youbet to begin building brand awareness in the Chinese markets.

"A Chinese-language entertainment site focused on horse racing is a logical, cost-efficient marketing vehicle for introducing our brand and the sport to government officials, gaming industry leaders, track owners and consumers," Champion said.

He also hopes Youbet can play a role in convincing government and racing officials that pari-mutuel wagering is good for racing.

"This is the best way for us to illustrate the power of our platform as a delivery channel for entertainment experiences," he said, "and for the Chinese to gain an appreciation of U.S. horse racing products." bills itself as the largest Internet provider of thoroughbred, quarter horse and harness horse racing content in the United States. Members can watch and (in most states) wager on races at most major domestic tracks via the company's closed-loop network.

The company also offers commingled track pools, live audio/video, up-to-the-minute track information, real-time wagering information, phone wagering and value-added handicapping products.

Plans are also in place for a Spanish-language version of

Youbet Announces Chinese Racing Venture is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith