New York state legislators temporarily put an end to live horse race broadcasts to hundreds of off-track betting parlors and race tracks in New York by failing to extend a simulcasting law.
The law, in effect for five years with regular extensions, expired midnight Saturday.
Legislative leaders insisted that simulcasting would be restored quickly through a new law and that simulcasting could probably be up and running again by today. That provided little consolation yesterday, however, for racing fans and those whose businesses depend on the broadcasts.
"We're out of business in New York state today," said Diane Scherf, simulcast coordinator at Belmont Park, one of three thoroughbred tracks owned by the New York Racing Association.
"We're not allowed to simulcast within New York state today, so we've shut everyone down."
Belmont simulcasts to 273 OTB parlors, teletheaters and race tracks in New York.
The New York state law permitting live broadcasts of races expired as negotiations over a bill that would go far beyond a simulcast extension broke down.
Among other things, the omnibus bill would have made simulcasting permanent and expanded the program by making agreements between tracks, parlors and teletheaters subject to binding arbitration if mutual agreements can't be reached.
As of yesterday, it appeared the legislature likely would scrap the omnibus bill, at least for the time being, and simply approve another extension of the simulcasting law.