02/20/2015 2:40PM

Mid-Atlantic tracks hit obstacle after deal nearly done

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A cooperative of racetracks and the company controlling the simulcast signals to Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park have agreed to the main pricing aspects of a new simulcast contract, but approval of the pact is being held up by a related issue affecting one of the cooperative’s members, Rosecroft Raceway, according to officials for both sides.

The Mid-Atlantic Cooperative, which represents 23 racetracks and simulcast sites in a smattering of states, and Monarch Content Management, a company owned by the Stronach Group, have been locked in a stalemate over a new simulcasting contract since late last October. According to the officials, the talks produced an agreement over new simulcast rates two weeks ago, but since then, the issue with Rosecroft has forced the two sides to dig in their heels once again.

“We got to economic terms that seemed acceptable a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve reached an issue that is beyond our authority to resolve,” said Phil O’Hara, the executive director of the cooperative, on Friday afternoon.

According to Scott Daruty, the president of Monarch, the situation has arisen because Rosecroft, a harness track, is in pending arbitration with the Stronach Group’s Maryland Jockey Club, the owner and operator of Laurel Park and Pimlico, over the distribution of simulcast revenues to harness and Thoroughbred interests in the state.

Monarch has argued that the arbitration would trigger a clause in the contract allowing the group to negotiate new terms with Rosecroft, depending on how the arbitration is resolved, Daruty said. As a result, Monarch has told the Mid-Atlantic cooperative that it would sign a deal if Rosecroft were excluded, but the Mid-Atlantic has countered that the agreement must include all of its members or none.

Since the dispute arose last year, the members of the cooperative have not offered any simulcast signals from the Stronach Group tracks and several other racetracks, including Tampa Bay Downs. Cooperative members include sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, and several other states.

Victor More than 1 year ago
Penn National Gaming and Greenwood (Parx) would be just fine if this dispute is never settled. Both companies are only in the racing business because they had to in order to get the casino licenses. Now that they have them and are filling the state coffers with tax $$$ they're going to do everything they can to get out from under their obligations, just as Betfair did with Hollywood Park. Does anyone really think this dispute hurts Penn National or Greenwood? Think again. The lost revenues are written off against the casino profits, which puts more $$ into their pockets in the long run because the equity value of the properties increases by the year will be taxed at less than half the rate as the casino revenues when both tracks are eventually closed and the lands redeveloped, just as Betfair has done and is doing with the tracks they acquired and have since closed.
Scott Jameson More than 1 year ago
Rosecroft? Really!!!
Victor More than 1 year ago
Not Rosecroft, per se, but Penn National Gaming, the largest member in Mid-Atlantic, who owns Rosecroft.
BALA More than 1 year ago
I cant believe it is being held up because of a dumpster like Rosecroft. Its sad.
Jeff Meyer More than 1 year ago
with stories like this with to much bickering it sure does not look like you all are REALLY trying to get not only new fans but most important keep the ones you have from jumping ship (titanic ring a bell)
Richard Kennedy More than 1 year ago
Can understand that new contract must include all it's members. At least they sound closer to getting this resolved. Still, there were some good horses I missed betting, because I didn't open a new account with one of the betting services.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Losing 100's of players by the day.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
Is it just my imagination or are those in charge of horse tracks of any kind about on a par with bratty, spoiled, rich, over-indulged children whose parents won't buy them a third car? Or are they all just drunk and stupid?