Nassau OTB Responds in NYRA Signal Dispute

Nassau OTB and NTRA are at odds over use of the racing signal.

The New York Racing Association removed its televised signal of Belmont Park races from the in-home distribution network of Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. June 3, and the OTB corporation June 4 issued a statement saying it takes offense to being accused of piracy.

NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward in a statement said the move was a result of action by Nassau Regional OTB in which it provided live streaming of NYRA races on its Internet site without prior approval from NYRA. The practice violated rules and regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, NYRA said.

“Despite repeated requests, NYRA has to date received no satisfactory explanation from Nassau OTB as to why it deliberately pirated NYRA’s signal over the internet,” Hayward said. “NYRA’s racing signal is valuable and proprietary, and we cannot allow it to be pirated by our competitors in the industry." 

NYRA cited a similar situation involving Capital OTB that was resolved satisfactorily and without the signal being pulled, noting that “Capital OTB, however, apologized and provided NYRA with a reasonable explanation for its actions. As a result, NYRA waived its right to remove its television signal from the Capital OTB in-home distribution network.”

Nassau Regional OTB, in its statement, said streaming video on its Internet betting platform is provided by Scientific Games Racing.

"Contrary to NROTB’s clear written directives to SciGames to not to stream NYRA races on the site, when SciGames switched streaming video providers in early 2009, the NYRA stream was disseminated erroneously. Upon notification that such dissemination was occurring, NROTB corrected the problem immediately.

"SciGames vice president David Haslett acknowledged their programming error in an April 17, 2009, letter that was forwarded to (Hayward) and racing and wagering board chairman John Sabini. In addition, NROTB president Dino Amoroso sent multiple letters to (Hayward) acknowledging and apologizing for the error.

"NROTB has endeavored to foster a cooperative and collaborative relationship with NYRA and New York horsemen for many years as demonstrated by its ongoing financial support of the (Backstretch Employees Service Team), Anna House, and numerous contests and programs featuring and supporting NYRA racing product. It is unfortunate that (Hayward) chooses to characterize NROTB as a 'competitor.' or its inadvertent actions as 'piracy.'

"The reality is that NROTB pays well over $10 million a year to NYRA and the New York horsemen."