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Horse racing TV network hopes to promote sport by airing in Alaska


Photograph by Brian Wallace / Photo illustration by Michael Plett
Growing a sport: TVG Network, which bills itself as 'the largest interactive horse racing network in America,' is available to Juneau GCI subscribers even though betting is illegal in Alaska. When the network first started airing in Washington a few years ago, viewers there weren't able to bet either. But Washington's Legislature authorized online advance deposit wagering in 2004.

It's 10:16 on a crisp Monday morning in Juneau, and the first flurries of a severe winter storm have the roads looking dodgy at best.

But in the opposite corner of the country, it's 78 degrees, 2:16 p.m. and post time for the fifth race at Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens, Fla. The packed-earth track is fast and firm, and seven thoroughbreds are stepping into the gate with 5 1/2 furlongs ahead.
Welcome to the TVG Network, channel 309 for GCI subscribers with access to the $5, nine-channel 'Digital Sports' package. The seven-year-old TVG bills itself as 'the largest interactive horse racing network in America,' and has the numbers to back up its claim.
The network reaches more than 20 million homes, broadcasts live races 14 hours a day from more than 70 tracks worldwide. And its online account wagering service (, available in 12 states, garnered approximately $400 million in total bets in 2005.
What's the attraction for Alaskans? Gambling - other than bingo, pull-tabs, raffles, contests of skill and some other charitable gaming activities - is illegal under Alaska law.
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