TVG Pact Aids New York Horsemen's Fund

The New York Racing Association and Television Games Network have reached a $13.5 million deal giving the network exclusive simulcasting rights outside of New York, according to a published report.

The Albany Times Union reported that the agreement was a key component of NYRA's announcement Friday that it had fully funded the state horsemen's purse account, which NYRA Senior Vice President William Nader said totaled $16.9 million.

The NYRA had admitted to federal prosecutors last year that it had improperly used the account to offset operating expenses. A probe of NYRA finances found that it had lost $20 million last year.

The New York Racing and Wagering Board approved the contract between TVG and the NYRA on Aug. 25, according to a letter released by the regulatory agency.

TVG, which acknowledged the deal but said it plans to make its own announcement Sept. 7, gains exclusive rights for the NYRA simulcast signal – which includes Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct – for its home betting network. The deal also includes non-exclusive rights to the signal within the state, where NYRA also sells rights to off-track wagering facilities. That's significant because under its earlier arrangement, TVG could not accept wagers on New York races by New Yorkers, the Times Union reported.

On Friday, the NYRA distributed a press release saying the horsemen's account had been fully restored, citing confidential "business transactions." C. Steven Duncker, NYRA acting co-chief operating officer and trustee, said that with the approval of the racing and wagering board "we were able to position our simulcast signal as a strategic asset and utilize it in ways that provide new benefits to NYRA and NYTHA."

The horsemen's account is held in trust for purses and other costs.

Alan Foreman, the horse owners' lawyer, told the newspaper Friday, "I'm pleased that we resolved the horsemen's account issue."