Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sayonara NHC XIV Dreams!

It is not officially winter yet here in New Jersey, but the weather is certainly getting nippier and the NHC Tour schedule gets rather chilly through December for the NJ Horseplayer camp.

Roughly 10% of the 500 or so seats to the 2013 National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in January 2013 remain up for grabs, but most are either out of my reach geographically, legally, or monetarily.

Sun's about to set
on 2013 NHC season
for NJ Horseplayer is offering upwards of 42 seats via $400 contests offering 10 NHC seats apiece on December 1, 15 and 29, and two $160 contests offering up to 6 NHC seats each on November 25 and December 8.  Budget constraints as a part-time player keep me out of the $400 realm, though I may play in one of the two $160 events.

Meanwhile, the NHC Tour calendar features on-track contests at Keeneland and Turfway Park, and in California in late December, which are not affordable in terms of time and travel.

From a legal perspective, NJ-based players are prohibited from events like the Online Handicapping Challenge, which took place this weekend and offers 100 seats to Las Vegas year-end tournaments (presumably a mix of NHC XIV and the Horseplayer World Series) -- a pretty nice proposition.  This, and a bit of dabbling with cash and points contests on, got me thinking...

Couldn't the NTRA, on behalf of dues-playing NHC Tour members, approach ADWs such as and, which offer seats to its headline national championship, about setting up a system whereby Tour members can participate in online contests such as the TwinSpires challenge?

I hope over the next month to explore the legalities a bit more in depth, but the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act seems to exempt outfits like DerbyWars who want to run handicapping contests and all sorts of fantasy sports (i.e., football, baseball) sites from UIGEA.  Logically, it would stand to reason that online ADWs could easily alter their technology to allow NHC Tour players like me, in states prohibiting the use of out-of-state wagering firms, to participate in contests like the TwinSpires challenge or events on Daily Racing Form's ADW, while prohibiting us from "wagering" through the ADW itself.

Perhaps I'm a simpleton, and there are valid reasons why such an effort would be futile for the NTRA; but as a dues-paying member, I did not join solely for 3-4 "free" handicapping contests that offer 10 seats to the National Handicapping Championship, but rather for advocacy for players as well.

There is no excuse for NTRA to sit idly by and ignore NJ players like me who are excluded from a host of qualifying opportunities.

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