12/01/2011 1:01PM

Gulfstream, Tampa Bay signals secured for Canada


The Woodbine Entertainment Group and a simulcast-marketing company reached an agreement late Wednesday that will avert a blackout in Canada of the popular signals from Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, an official involved in the negotiations said Thursday.

Scott Daruty, the president of the simulcast marketer, Monarch Content Management, would not disclose the terms of the deal. Daruty had previously said that Monarch was seeking a higher rate from the Canadian sites to reflect the growing share of handle in Canada that is bet through account-wagering sites, which typically pay higher rates than live racetracks.

“Like most negotiations, they’re not entirely happy, and neither are we, but we were able to come to a compromise,” Daruty said.

Steve Mitchell, the executive vice president for Woodbine Entertainment, which negotiates for signal rights on behalf of all pari-mutuel sites in Canada, said that Woodbine submitted the paperwork for the contract to Canadian regulators on Thursday morning. He said he expected regulators to approve the contract by Saturday, when both Gulfstream and Tampa open their meets.

“We’re glad we could come to a compromise, and we’re hopeful we can offer the signals to our fans starting this weekend,” Mitchell said.

Monarch controls the racing signals for the properties owned by the Stronach Group, along with several other tracks. The deal reached late on Wednesday with the Canadian sites includes all of the Monarch signals, Daruty said.

Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs are two of the more popular winter racing signals in the U.S., and over the past several years, wagers from Canadian bettors have comprised approximately 10 percent of the tracks’ total handle.