The New York State Racing and Wagering Board today formally adopted the continuation of online video streaming of thoroughbred and harness racing in New York state throughout the 2012 calendar year.
The action extends an agreement forged in 2010 by the Racing and Wagering Board in the wake of New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation's closure. Recognizing the urgent need for collaboration to keep the industry afloat, Board Chairman John D. Sabini forged a consensus among track operators and OTBs last year to allow online streaming for New York races, giving the betting public an opportunity to view live racing on the Internet. The original agreement was slated to expire on Dec. 22.
"When New York City OTB shut down last year, the future of New York's world-class horse racing product was uncertain," Chairman Sabini said. "This agreement will help the tracks and OTBs make up for the lost revenue, increase convenience for the betting public, and introduce new fans to the sport. This is another sign that the industry is moving in the right direction and willing to work together to ensure the continued viability of racing in New York."
An examination of handle and account data from The New York Racing Association, Inc., Yonkers and the five regional OTBs for the first nine months of 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010 shows the entities experienced a combined 49 percent increase in account wagering handle and a 45 percent increase in the total number of accounts.
Chairman Sabini said, "While it is impossible to determine exactly how much of the increased account wagering handle is attributable to video streaming, it is evident that the agreement has had a positive impact in the wake of New York City OTB's closure. Most importantly, video streaming is good for the fans of racing and the overall sport."
The renewed agreement came to fruition earlier this month at a meeting of representatives of all the OTBs and track operators in New York State at the Racing and Wagering Board's New York City office. Included in the agreement are The New York Racing Association, Inc., Capital District Regional OTB, Catskill Regional OTB, Nassau Regional OTB, Suffolk Regional OTB, Western Regional OTB and the operators of Batavia Downs, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Finger Lakes Racetrack, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway and Yonkers Raceway.
by Lee Park, director of communications, New York State Racing and Wagering Board