12/29/2005 12:00AM

Simulcast law in Mass. Extended

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The state legislature in Massachusetts on Wednesday agreed to extend current simulcasting laws for 90 days, allowing Suffolk Downs and the three other parimutuel facilities in Massachusetts to avoid shutting down at the end of the year. Simulcasting laws in the state were scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and the bill that would have established a new simulcasting law - part of legislation to allow slot machines at tracks - passed the state Senate but never came to a vote in the House before this year's formal sessions closed.

The extension of simulcasting was taken up in informal sessions this month, but was held up when a representative from the district of Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park sought unlimited simulcasting rights for that dog track and threatened to withhold his support for the bill. Legislation requires unanimous consent to pass during informal sessions. The representative, David Flynn (D-Bridgewater), withdrew his objections after assurances from House and Senate leaders that they would look into expanding simulcasting during the extension period. Currently, the greyhound track can simulcast Suffolk Downs and two other horse racing signals when Suffolk is running.

The tracks must now form a simulcasting deal over the next three months. The legislature returns to session in March.