11/06/2010 1:41PM

NYRA signal part of new deal with Foxwoods casino

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Beginning with Friday’s opening-day card at Aqueduct, horseplayers in Connecticut were able to wager on the races from New York Racing Association tracks at Foxwoods Resort Casino as a result of a new marketing deal between the two companies.

Previously, the Mohegan Sun Casino, approximately 10 miles away from Foxwoods, had exclusive rights to NYRA’s signal. NYRA is currently negotiating a new deal with Mohegan Sun.

“Foxwoods had never before had our signal,” said NYRA’s president and CEO, Charles Hayward. “We weren’t going to give [Mohegan Sun] an exclusive anymore.”

As part of the deal, Foxwoods will now become the official sponsor of a triumvirate of races including the Just a Game at Belmont in the spring, the King’s Bishop at Saratoga, and the Gallant Bloom at Belmont in the fall.

In addition to sponsoring the those three races, Foxwoods and NYRA will launch multiple joint promotions including handicapping contests, poker events, and seasonal getaway packages at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

The timing of this partnership comes at odd time in that NYRA has recently joined forces with another gaming entity, Genting New York, which is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into constructing a casino at Aqueduct as well as refurbishing the facility.

Hal Handel, NYRA’s vice-president and COO, said he spoke with Mike Speller, president of Genting New York, to make sure they didn’t have a problem with NYRA partnering with another gaming operator.

“If it had been an issue we wouldn’t have done it,”Handel said.

Handel said that Foxwoods would have no “signage or presence at Aqueduct,” but that Genting could have signage at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga.