04/28/2014 4:13PM

Chuchill Downs, Vegas books lack simulcasting deal

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Churchill Downs and racebooks in Las Vegas have so far failed to reach a simulcasting deal, potentially jeopardizing the ability of the racebooks to offer parimutuel wagering on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the most popular race in the United States, according to Nevada gambling officials.

Patty Jones, executive director of the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association, said that the Churchill signal was unavailable in casinos on Saturday night, the opening card of the Churchill spring meet, because of the lack of a deal. Negotiations with Churchill are “ongoing,” said Jones, who represents 82 casino properties in Nevada.

Though Churchill’s parent company represents a number of racetracks across the United States in simulcast negotiations, Jones said that the deal in limbo was limited to races at Churchill Downs in Louisville. In addition to Saturday’s Derby, Churchill also is the home of the Kentucky Oaks, which is run as part of an increasingly popular betting card on Friday.

Contract negotiations between Churchill and simulcast outlets frequently flare up in the weeks leading up to the opening of the spring meet, when Churchill can take a hard line on talks because of the popularity of the Derby. On the other side of the table, Nevada racebooks occupy a unique position, because state law allows them to offer booked bets on horse racing. Booked bets are nowhere near as cost-effective or profitable as parimutuel bets, however, and most casino racebooks embraced the parimutuel system two decades ago.

Several racing officials have said that Churchill’s parent company has been seeking a higher rate for the track’s signal this year, in part because the track raised its takeout rates effective with the opening of the spring meet. Simulcast outlets keep the difference between the rate they pay for the signal and the takeout, so any increase in takeout without an increase in the simulcast rate would provide more revenue to the outlet, and not necessarily to Churchill.

Churchill officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

William Rieger More than 1 year ago
As a resident of the Silver State (where ADW is banned ) this is not good news.
Nick Arden More than 1 year ago
CDI is the worst.
maverick thirteen More than 1 year ago
I went to Lone Star Park today, but they don't have the Churchill signal due to a dispute with CDI. Is this a problem nationwide? Louisiana hasn't renewed the license for Fairgrounds (a CDI track) due to lack of maintenance. For a company that started as a race track company, they are turning their back on the fans and their facilities.
edb More than 1 year ago
When does it stop? CD is taking a 10% increase in takeout and they want more from the racebooks. It will be a two day meet for me with the Oaks and the derby. They are not the elite product they think they are. Greed is greed. Kill off access to your biggest day and you prove what? You want to improve handle. Give out the pps to your potential customers as soon as possible and let the hype begin. Run a contest with a nice prize for who can pick the derby in order.Do something for your customers.. Instead of holding your hand out, slap yourself in the face and wake up.
William Brites More than 1 year ago
Well said Ed, The lack of fan sensitivity and greed is staggering. And it starts right here @ the DRF. Few in this game have a care or a clue for the racing fans interests
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
Don't offer the Derby! Standup to Churchill! Make a show bet on Wise Dan. Together we can create the largest negative show pool in history!
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
It's really about time someone stands up to CDI. They bully their way around the industry. They make a years profit on one day. Let them eat cake.
James Hiken More than 1 year ago
For all you complainers, the state of KY will not allow casino gambling, denying CDI the purse supplements that draw horses to competing tracks. Blame our state government for hamstringing our thoroughbred industry. CDI is about profitability, like all other businesses. While you may denigrate it as a "2 day meet," to most of the country it's the Kentucky Derby that is horse racing. No other day comes close. Breeder's Cup is for the horseplayer and international jet set, not in the same ballpark. You want access to the premier event, you pay the price - as set by the company that provides the event. No question Vegas caves and this is settled soon.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Take a look at what casino gambling has done to other states. It's fool's gold and only helps a select few. How is it that Keeneland can be successful in the same state.
Franck Rice More than 1 year ago
Grew up going to Churchill. Hard to believe what it has become. I will bet the Oaks, Derby, and breeders cup if it ever goes back to Churchill. Otherwise it is just common sense to bet other tracks.
Rand Barta More than 1 year ago
Dear CDI: Brilliant. Consistent with your business plan, I recommend you purchase a new sign. It should say "Welcome to Hialeah (Coming Soon)." Ask someone downstairs who understands the business & sport you are gradually asphyxiating, and they'll explain it to you. Or if you can't find anyone left, just Google "elasticity of demand." You'll find some long words, but go slow & even a CDI exec can get it; then have your secretary try to call Hialeah. Sincerely Churchill is now at this time at most about the 6th best track in the business, and the 2nd or arguably 3rd in the state. But they clearly have ambitions of becoming something below #20. Well below. Very, very far below, and soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CDi brags of low take out on ex ,dd ,this is bull they are higher than all the good tracks when you go to the casino You will lose thats what the new takeout will do it makes sure you lose at CD. Real horse players should unite leave this greedy place alone