TrackNet Signal Cut-Off Looms in Nevada

No resolve in TrackNet/Nevada negotiations

Despite comments from TrackNet Media Group that negotiations are "going backwards" over issues involving racing signals to Nevada racebooks, the player on the other side of the table offered guarded hope matters can be resolved before a Jan. 25 cut-off deadline.

TrackNet, which negotiates content agreements for tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp., earlier this month said it would cut off track signals to more than 80 casino racebooks unless new agreements are met with the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association.

As the original Jan. 7 cutoff date approached, the two groups agreed to an extension through Jan. 25, which, in part, would cover signals used in the 10th DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. The tournament is scheduled to take place Jan. 23-24 at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas

“We are still talking, but we don’t have a deal,” said Scott Daruty, president and chief executive officer for TrackNet. “I can tell you this: There won’t be another extension.”

NPMA executive director Patty Jones said she couldn’t talk much about the negotiations, citing their ongoing nature against a deadline, but offered a glimmer of hope.

“We’re not dead yet,” she told The Blood-Horse Jan. 23. “We met with Scott Daruty this morning. That we’re still talking in itself I think is still favorable.”

Daruty also didn’t want to get into the specifics of the negotiations, but said in his mind, recent overall progress had been reversed.

“I’m certainly disappointed that we are going backwards on issues on which we had previously made progress,” he said. “Our perception is that there are things agreed to early in the process that they have changed their position on.”

On the table from TrackNet were requests of higher fees from racebooks on racing signals, as well as other issues, including how handle is reported to the content company.

Separately, Daruty also said there was no resolution to a hub-fee dispute with the Thoroughbred Owners of California that has resulted in signals from that state being cut off to certain racetracks and other facilities owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

“The Churchill tracks are still cut off by the TOC,” Daruty said. “I still fail to see the connection to the issues they are complaining about, and cutting off the signals.”

TOC president Drew Couto did not immediately respond to a request for comment.