The impasse that prevented fans at Laurel Park and Pimlico -- as well as 17 other tracks in the Northeast -- from wagering on races simulcasted from Belmont Park ended yesterday when the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative, representing the tracks, signed a new contract with the New York Racing Association.
The cooperative -- which negotiates simulcasting and account wagering contracts for its members, including the Maryland tracks -- pulled the plug Sept. 15 on the New York signal after the NYRA announced that all home account wagering on its races must be conducted through the TVG Network.
TVG is an interactive horse racing television and betting network with which the NYRA signed an exclusive deal through 2007. The cooperative tracks objected before relenting yesterday and signing a deal.
"They stepped up and recognized this deal had to get done," said Bill Nader, senior vice president at NYRA. "From the standpoint of customer relations, this would have been a giant step back" had the impasse gone on.
Cooperative Executive Director Martin Lieberman and Jim Gagliano, Magna Entertainment's executive vice president of Maryland operations, said financial costs of the impasse were unavailable.
"Everyone is now aware states will defend their home turf when it comes to home account wagering territories and rights," Lieberman said.
While TVG home accounts already are established in Maryland, they are not licensed in Virginia. That state's horseplayers will be able to resume betting on New York tracks at Colonial Downs and off-track outlets, but not via home accounts.
Simulcasting to Maryland tracks from New York will resume today with the beginning of the fall meet at Aqueduct. The new contract runs through the Saratoga race meet next year.
-- John Scheinman