On one side is TrackNet, on the other are the Nevada books with horse racing fans squarely in the middle taking the biggest hits.
"We’re still negotiating," said Jay Rood, race and sports director for MGM MIRAGE properties. "Naturally the customers are disappointed with not having Pick Six wagering here for Southern California, but other tracks are benefitting. I’m optimistic that something will be done to settle the matter."
But the money dispute lingers between TrackNet and Nevada Pari-mutuel Association, which means no simulcasting for the five tracks affected for now by the dispute – Laurel, Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Golden Gate and Gulfstream.
How serious can this get for race bettors? Well, TrackNet involves Churchill Downs and Pimlico, sites of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness respectively.
"For sure if there were no settlement it would have an affect on the Kentucky Derby here," said Bob Scucci, race and sports director at the Orleans. "To what degree, I couldn’t say. Right now we have to be prepared for the worst, but we’re hopeful of this getting settled."
Scucci conceded that the biggest losers are the race fans and his book at the Orleans is trying to make things right for the patrons.
"Our customers lose out," he said. "Next week we are having three days of race contests for bettors to qualify for the Horse Players World Series. Plus, we’ll have other promotions at the Orleans to help everyone get through this."
As for tracks to bet, what’s bad for those who want to wager on the Fab Five is good for the tracks not normally getting play each day.
"It’s business as usual for the other tracks not part of the TrackNet dispute, while allowing tracks like Aqueduct and Turfway to get more handle," Scucci said. "Plus, we’re also booking other tracks like Pennsylvania Park which we don’t normally take on weekends. Now we are."
Last weekend, the Stratosphere and Arizona Charlie’s East and West did not book any races from Santa Anita and the other four tracks in the dispute. Nothing has changed.
"We haven’t done anything different at all," said Ed Malinowski, race and sports director at the Stratosphere. "Unless you can see the signal, I don’t think people will want to bet those tracks. We won’t change our stance. We’re still not booking the five tracks."
Malinowski said that there would be more betting action taken at Philadelphia Park, Beulah Park (Ohio) and Sunland Park (New Mexico) to make up for the loss.
"I can see this impasse lasting all the way through the Kentucky Derby and it’s entirely possible we won’t book the race," said Eric St. Clair, race and sports director of operations at Eastside Cannery, Cannery and Rampart.
Meanwhile, regular race players at the books are forced with not being able to watch those five tracks on television.
"Obviously this is not the best situation," Rood said. "It’s kind of like going to the restaurant and saying we are out of pork chops. You just have to find something else on the menu."
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