Webis’ EWS nears California harness racing deal

6th July 2012 9:05 am GMT

AIM-listed Webis Holdings plc said Thursday that its pari-mutuel platform European Wagering Services has signed non-binding heads of terms to operate harness racing at the California Exposition & State Fair for a five-year term.

Last December, the California Exposition & State Fair Horse Racing Committee began the search to find an operator to assume the operations of harness racing once the current agreement ended on June 16th.

Four responses were received, although two of the respondents subsequently did not express any further interest after receiving the financial statement for harness racing. The other two respondents were former president of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association Ben Kenney, and Webis’ European Wagering Services.

After several communications with both parties, Kenney and Ed Comins of EWS agreed to join forces together in an effort to secure an agreement with Cal Expo and a racing licence from the California Horse Racing Board.

Chris Schick, former general manager of the Sacremento Harness Association, has joined with Kenney and entered into a management agreement with EWS to operator the horse race meet.

“We are pleased that EWS has stepped forward to operate the harness racing meet here at Cal Expo,” said Cynthia Bryant, chair of the Cal Expo Racing Committee. “Our hope has always been that harness racing would continue at Cal Expo as it supports many jobs and greatly impacts the local economy.”

Completion of these arrangements remains subject to agreement of final contracts between EWS and Cal Expo, allocation of race dates by the Californian Horse Racing Board (CHRB), and EWS receiving approval for an operator licence from the CHRB.

Webis said that these approvals are expected to occur in mid to late August with regular racing from November 2012 onwards.

EWS plans to conduct a 71 day race meet beginning November 1st through to the middle of May 2013, a departure from the current racing schedule of September to June.

Shares in Webis Holding plc (Co. Data) (AIM:WEBIS) have slumped 21.43 per cent to 0.6875 per share in London this morning.

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