02/06/2014 2:24PM

NYRA signal to be available on twinspires.com through Monday as sides negotiate

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The New York Racing Association’s signal will be available on the account-wagering website owned by Churchill Downs Inc. through Monday even if the two sides are unable to agree on a new simulcasting contract by then, a NYRA official said Thursday.

The two sides agreed to allow the signal to be available to customers of twinspires.com through the next four days of live racing at NYRA’s Aqueduct Racetrack as they continue to negotiate a new contract, according to NYRA spokesman Eric Wing, to avoid “signal disruption.” Aqueduct is racing on a Friday-through-Monday schedule.

Twinspires.com is the largest account-wagering company in the United States and is a significant profit center for Churchill Downs Inc., a publicly traded company. A spokesperson for Churchill said Thursday the company would have no comment.

A previous agreement between the two sides expired at the end of 2013, but the terms of the contract have been extended multiple times since the beginning of the year. The latest extension expired Monday.

NYRA, which operates its own account-wagering platform, has been pressing its simulcast partners to pay a higher rate for its signal as part of a push by the state-controlled company to post a profit on its racing operations. According to officials, all major U.S. simulcast brokers but Churchill Downs have agreed to a higher rate.

Races at NYRA’s three tracks, Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga, account for approximately one-fifth of all U.S. racing handle. The association’s signal commands a premium rate in the out-of-state simulcasting marketplace, believed to be the highest in the country for any year-round signal.