NYRA Halts Simulcasts to Indian Casino

A northern Idaho Indian casino lost its third racetrack signal Aug. 4 as punishment for paying rebates. The New York Racing Association cut its Saratoga simulcast signal to the Coeur d'Alene casino near Worley, Idaho, and nearly cut off Les Bois Park, but decided to continue to send the signal as long as the racetrack cut off the casino.

Les Bois, a live racing facility, is the hub for the casino and three other Idaho off-track betting parlors. Rebating has become a major concern for the industry and racetracks. Collectively, they lose an estimated $500 million a year to domestic and offshore OTBs that offer rebates as high as 10%.

“In this particular case, they might be soliciting customers from off their site,” Bill Nader, director of broadcast communications, said of the Coeur d'Alene casino. “That is crossing the line.”

Two other racetracks have taken action against the tribe. Monmouth Park cut off Idaho entirely July 1 by refusing to broadcast to Les Bois Park. Hollywood Park cut off only the Coeur d'Alene casino during the last days of its spring meet.

Monmouth officials took action after they discovered agents for the Coeur d'Alenes had been handing out brochures and business cards at the track. Drew Shubeck, associate general manager at Monmouth Park, said some Monmouth patrons called the tribe and were offered rebates.

Losing signals is serious business for Les Bois, which relies on simulcasting for its purses. The track and OTBs handle $30 million annually from simulcasting, $13 million at the track alone.

“It caught us by surprise,” Duayne Didericksen, general manager of Les Bois Park, said of losing NYRA's signal. “We don't control what the tribes do. As soon as we were made aware of (the rebating), we started taking steps to reassure it isn't happening.”