12/03/2013 10:55AM

Florida proposing change to simulcast host-track regulations


Florida’s racing regulatory agency has proposed a modification to its rules that would require tracks to run at least three days a week in order to qualify as host tracks and be able to sell simulcast signals in the state.

If approved, the change would address a complaint by Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of Calder Race Course, against Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, which both added dates to their meets this year in order to qualify as host tracks. The change in status for both tracks has cost Calder millions of dollars in revenue compared to 2012, when the track was the sole reseller of simulcast signals in Florida for most of the latter half of the year.

Specifically, the rule states that a track must race three days a week continuously to qualify as a host track. During the summer and fall of 2013, Gulfstream ran two days a week, while Tampa added two days to its schedule in the summer to make its case to qualify as a host track. The track, which is scheduled to open Wednesday, has not run a live card since those two isolated dates.

Churchill Downs had appealed the decision by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to award Tampa and Gulfstream host-track status. Under Florida statute, host tracks are allowed to import simulcast signals and resell them to the state’s wagering outlets. Simulcast resellers retain a significant portion of the signals’ wagering revenue.