Massachusetts Tracks Face Deadline on Simulcast Deal

Racetracks in Massachusetts could shut down Jan. 1, 2006, should they fail to strike a new agreement on simulcasts.

The four tracks--Suffolk Downs (Thoroughbred), Plainridge Racecourse (Standardbred), and Raynham-Taunton and Wonderland (Greyhound) are operating under a five-year agreement that's set to expire. Raynham-Taunton is seeking unlimited simulcasts, something to which the other tracks object.

The Taunton, Mass., Gazette reported Raynham-Taunton owner George Carney left a legislative summit after he failed to reach agreement with the other tracks. If a compromise isn't reached, no track will be permitted to offer simulcasts.

The newspaper reported Rep. David Flynn, whose district includes Raynham-Taunton, would file an amendment to allow the Greyhound track to have unlimited simulcasts. Flynn said conditions have changed considerably over the past five years, and noted Suffolk Downs is requesting fewer live racing dates, which would restrict Raynham-Taunton's ability to simulcast under the current agreement.

"We want to keep this going so we can take up (racetrack) slot machines in March," Flynn told Gazette.

Other reports indicated Carney would like to offer regular simulcasts at the Brockton Fair, which he owns. Brockton revived live Thoroughbred racing several years ago, then pulled the plug.