TrackNet, Nevada books reach settlement

Feb 12, 2009 11:26 PM
by GT Staff |

TrackNet and the Nevada books finally reached a settlement Thursday in their ongoing battle that forced race and sports books in Nevada to book their own bets without a signal.

On Friday, the signal was returned, putting things back to normal at area sports books. According to one source, the deal involved a 1/2-percent increase over a two-year contract. It's a multi-tier rate schedule, meaning it's not the same for every track.

The contract between the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association and TrackNet, a simulcast-marketing partnership co-owned by Magna Entertainment and Churchill Downs, expired Dec. 31, but was extended through Jan. 25 to allow for negotiations. The tracks were pressing the casinos to pay a higher rate for its signals, but the casinos balked. There is no word as yet about the terms of the settlement but the signal should be begin flowing again shortly.

Without this agreement, Nevada had lost its TV signal to several key tracks and, more important, they had lost participation in those pari-mutuel pools.

The tracks affected were Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park and Oaklawn Park. Fair Grounds, owned by Churchill Downs, was covered under a contract separate from the expired agreement, and wasn’t affected.

Last week, Jay Rood, race and sports director for MGM MIRAGE properties had said negotiations were still in progress. "Naturally the customers are disappointed with not having Pick Six wagering here for Southern California, but other tracks are benefiting. I’m optimistic that something will be done to settle the matter."

Now, thanks to the settlement, this won't be an issue, putting many bettors minds -- and those at area sports books -- at ease.

Had the money dispute lingered on between TrackNet and Nevada Pari-mutuel Association, it could have threatened betting for Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, since TrackNet involves Churchill Downs and Pimlico.

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