NY Streaming Likely to Continue


Buffalo Raceway has yet to sign off on an annual agreement that requires mutual consent among all of New York's pari-mutuel tracks and off-track-betting venues in order for the Internet streaming of live Thoroughbred and Standardbred races to continue in 2016. But an executive of the holdout harness track said on Thursday that even if he chooses not to sign the agreement, a new amendment to it appears to guarantee that the streams will continue.

Although he wouldn't call it a “deadline,” Buffalo Raceway's chief operating officer Jim Mango said he was asked to sign and return an amended streaming agreement to the New York State Gaming Commission by Friday. Mango told TDN that instead of signing the amendment, which he just received Tuesday, he has requested a meeting with the NYSGC to answer concerns he has about how the agreement adversely affects Buffalo Raceway.

“I don't even want to say I'm holding off on signing it,” Mango said. “I just asked for the meeting. I made it clear that I don't think live streaming video has properly given protection to my little racetrack. That's clear, I'm not going to back off on my statement. But I do wish to discuss my issues with the regulatory body, which is what I should do as a license holder. This is not an act of war, it's a quest for knowledge. That's the best way I can put it.”

The collaborative streaming agreement among New York pari-mutuel licensees dates to December 2010, when New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. ceased operations. As a way to compensate for lost OTB revenue and to give state residents easy access to live racing on the Internet, an agreement was forged pursuant to Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law sections 1003 and 1012.

Mango explained that at the time, the mutual agreement clause was inserted as a safeguard to keep New York tracks and OTBs from fighting over customers in overlapping regions. But he said now he thinks that protection is not happening because competing advance-deposit wagering companies are signing up online customers from within his geographic region that used bet at his brick-and-mortar facility. Buffalo Raceway does not have its own online ADW portal.

Based on previous versions of the agreement, it is unclear whether the lack of mutual consent would mean that New York tracks and OTBs could not stream races only within the state, or if they would be prohibited from sending live Internet streams of races to ADWs nationwide. On Tuesday, Mango said that was “one of the major issues of confusion.” Lee Park, the director of communications for the New York State Gaming Commission, underscored in an email Tuesday that the agreement would have “no bearing whatsoever on out-of-state ADWs.”

But the new amendment to the agreement apparently gives a different NYSGC interpretation of the mutual consent rule. Mango, despite voicing concerns over the proposed amendment, would not disclose his copy of it. Park did not respond to a Thursday email request prior to deadline for this story that asked for a copy of the amendment, clarification on whether it was a public document, and if the NYSGC would be granting Buffalo Raceway the opportunity to meet over the issue.

“I'm not trying to be an antagonist here or an obstructionist,” Mango said. “Unfortunately, what's happened in New York State is not favorable to my little racetrack, and my job is to do what I can to help this racetrack…Let me just say, on the record, that whether I sign or not, this is going to be dealt with in a favorable manner to those who still wish to have live streaming video in New York State.”

Mango continued: “My intent was never to disrupt that…Regardless of whether I sign the amendment or not, the language in it appears to protect the live streaming video issue in New York State. I have to still deal with my hopes that the gaming commission will give me the chance to sit down with them and discuss some of my issues and concerns.”


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