05/15/2003 12:00AM

Playfair stops simulcast action


SPOKANE, Wash. - Eric Nelson, the operator of Playfair Race Course, has suspended simulcast operations at the Spokane track for two weeks, calling the move a "cooling-off period."

Nelson met Monday and Tuesday with horsemen's representatives and Jack Pring, whose Appleway Leasing Corp. owns the facility, in an attempt to win concessions he says are necessary to run a successful operation at Playfair. Those concessions include a long-term contract with horsemen and a reduction in the approximately $25,000 per month rent he pays Appleway.

When those negotiations failed to produce results, Nelson announced that simulcasting would cease for two weeks beginning Wednesday, May 14. The facility was open Wednesday to cash tickets only.

"We're in kind of a 14-day cooling-off period to see if we can bring the Prings and the horsemen to the negotiating table," said Nelson.

Nelson, a gaming property developer, signed a 10-year lease/ option deal on the track a year ago. He was licensed in January to operate a 40-day live meet from September to December, then was granted the right to conduct simulcast wagering before the live meet begins in order to build up the purse account. The track began offering simulcast wagering in February.