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Iowa racetack to launch online wagering plaform

29 November 2011

ALTOONA, Iowa -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino and the Iowa Horsemen Benevolent and Protective Association (IA HBPA) announced today that they are collaborating on the development of the state's first-ever legal online wagering platform. The move is being undertaken to spur expansion of the customer base for Iowa horse racing and to take advantage of continuing growth in the popularity of advanced deposit wagering (ADW).

The two Iowa racing stalwarts have engaged the services of California-based Paladin Capital Partners -- and principals Chuck Champion and Gary Sproule -- to guide the deployment of the systems and marketing components needed to maximize the program's revenue potential. Between 2002-08 Champion and Sproule built TwinSpires into the largest ADW in the industry with nearly $1.0 billion in annual wagering handle.

"Our two organizations share a vested interest in providing an outstanding customer experience," said Gary Palmer, CEO of Prairie Meadows which, as the nation's first racino, has a rich history of innovation in the gaming industry. "Today, that means having a robust, vertically integrated online wagering platform to help attract new customers and generate the kind of revenue we need to sustain the quality of our racing products."

IA HBPA President Leroy Gessmann echoed Palmer's view.

"The partnership with Prairie Meadows has very exciting prospects," he said, "and we are eager to work with the track to create a delivery channel that connects with the digital media generation. Our interest is straightforward: the more successful Prairie Meadows is engaging fans, the more successful we will be as owners and trainers which, in turn, will help the Iowa breeding industry."

The first step in the collaboration was the selection of a firm to help guide the project. According to Palmer and Gessmann, Paladin Capital offered unrivaled competency in the ADW space.

"The principals have hands-on experience with the technologies," they said. "As important, they know horse racing and horse racing fans as well as many key racing executives in the country. These were important considerations for our Boards."

Paladin has been asked to deliver its technology and implementation timeline by the end of the month. Prairie Meadows and IA HBPA hope to offer online wagering for the next race season. A handful of potential technology partners have expressed interest in providing the actual wagering platform for the venture through responses to a request for proposal that will be reviewed in the coming weeks.

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