Massachusetts Racetracks Ink Simulcasting Pact

The four racetracks in the Boston metropolitan area have inked a deal that should go a long way toward new racing legislation in Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that Suffolk Downs; Plainridge Racecourse, a Standardbred track; and two Greyhound tracks, Raynham-Taunton and Wonderland, have an agreement in place that allows for cross-breed and cross-species simulcasting. The racing law in Massachusetts expired last year, so the tracks are operating on an extension.

Simulcasting is an issue in Massachusetts because the four tracks are located in close promixity. There is no off-track betting in the state.

According to the newspaper, Suffolk will get 3% of Raynham-Taunton's Thoroughbred handle, and 2% on handle generated at Plainridge. Wonderland, located minutes from Suffolk, will pay 6%-7%, depending on the time of day.

Part of the proposed racing law gives Thoroughbred fairs simulcasting rights. Three County Fair in Northampton is the only fair that has held meets recently each year. Brockton, located southeast of Boston, has applied for dates this year. The owner of the Great Barrington Fair has said live racing must be tied to year-round simulcasting.

Residents of Great Barrington, located in the Berkshire Mountains in the western part of the state, will raise the simulcasting issue at the annual town meeting in early May. In an election last year, simulcasting at the fairgrounds failed to pass by only 17 votes.