NYRA Contract with AmTote Approved

Franchise Oversight Board approves 10-year agreement between NYRA and AmTote.

A New York regulatory panel has approved a new 10-year tote contract between the New York Racing Association and AmTote International.

The totalizator contract with AmTote, which is owned by the Frank Stronach Group, ends a relationship between NYRA and Churchill Downs Inc.'s United Tote dating to 2004.

The contract, recently approved by the NYRA board, was approved April 22 by the Franchise Oversight Board, a state panel created several years ago to monitor NYRA's finances. The contract calls for an initial five-year period, followed by five one-year options. It is scheduled to begin after the Saratoga Race Course meet.

The new contract was set to be awarded last summer, but was put on hold by NYRA officials because the racing association was preparing to be taken over by a new state-run board of trustees. Officials did not immediately provide any specific financial details of the contract, and any such information seems unlikely to be revealed in the future. Officials said the deal includes a request from AmTote and backing from NYRA to keep pricing and staffing level information private.

NYRA called Maryland-based AmTote the "clear winner'' of the new contract based on technical, operational, and cost considerations. NYRA officials said the contract's award was delayed earlier this year to give time for United Tote and London-headquartered Sportech, the losing bidders, to meet with NYRA board members about the process.

"There were no allegations of collusion or fraud or anything by either party,'' NYRA acting general counsel Kenneth Handal, who attended the March meeting with the losing bidders, told the franchise oversight board.

Officials said the contract could be expanded to include apps or other betting platforms or integration down the road with the state's off-track betting corporations. They said the contract includes new terminals and other equipment, and various technological safeguards at the firm's Maryland operational headquarters, as well as a backup center in Oregon and an on-track system if the other two sites fail.