Gulfstream, Tampa Bay in Simulcasting Lawsuit

In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Gulfstream Park alleges Tampa Bay Downs is acting in violation of Gulfstream's exclusive contracts in the redistribution of simulcast signals to outlets in Florida.

Magna Entertainment-owned Gulfstream maintains exclusivity in redistribution of the signal from certain tracks, including fellow MEC tracks and New York Racing Association tracks. At issue is whether or not Tampa can redistribute those signals within the state.

"We are simply complying with Florida law," Tampa Bay general manager Peter Berube said.

State law requires a signal sent to any one Florida track be available to all tracks. "The state obligates us to make the signal available to all eligible (intertrack wagering) outlets," Berube said.

Gulfstream management declined to comment on the suit.

Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said the association supports Gulfstream's position. He claims Tampa Bay has gained a foothold in simulcasting by undercutting Gulfstream on price.

"The only ones benefiting are the dog tracks and jai alai frontons that are now getting a higher percentage of the wagering dollar," Stirling said.

As a result, Stirling said, wagering at intertrack wagering sites on Gulfstream-distributed signals is down 35% for the 2003 meet.