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Roark Resigns To Start Betting Hub

Wednesday, 19th April 2006

We-Have-Seen-The-Future Update: Meanwhile John Roark resigned as president & chairman of the US National Thoroughbred Horsemen's Benevolence & Protective Association & "plans to privately launch an off-shore wagering hub in the Caribbean with 2 partners," reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Tom Metzen also resigned as the NHBPA's Midwest region vice president & "will join Roark in the establishment of the hub in Curacao, which approved the hub for a master wagering license"; Tom Metzen (a Minnesota insurance broker) is the other partner in the venture. Roark said he feared his participation in the hub venture (named International Horsemen's Wagering Assurance Group) "would appear to be a conflict of interest" with his role as NHBPA president. The HBPA "has tried unsuccessfully for several years to launch an off-shore hub, with a goal of ensuring simulcast revenues are funneled back to horsemen from bets made in the Caribbean & Central & South America". Roark (who closed his Texas law practice last week) commented: "I've been preaching for 4 years that an international hub is vital to the industry to increase our market & rein in the pirates. We're working on contracts with a couple of large internet gaming companies from England to place all their bets into our pools, as opposed to laying bets off or taking bets & just booking them. We're also working with 3 different horsemen's groups in 3 different countries in Latin America to do the same thing. We're also working on a situation in the Caribbean to bring those operators in, as opposed to going through the local bookmakers & not paying anything."

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