The news from NYRA continues to arrive fast and furious, on matters both OTB and otherwise.
In the “let’s get people to bet at NYRA” category, the Association released the following news today:
Beginning next Wednesday, customers can sign up instantly for a NYRA Rewards account; members who sign up by December 31 will be eligible for double cash rewards from January 1 to March 31.
If you’re missing the atmosphere of an OTB, beginning this Sunday, the Belmont Café on the ground floor of Belmont Park will be open for simulcasting every day from 11 am until 7 pm.
“Hm,” you might be thinking. “Why are they waiting until Sunday? Why not simulcast the Saturday cards?”
Because on Saturday, the Belmont Child Care Association will be in the Belmont Café holding its holiday party for the children of the backstretch…about which NYRA also wrote today, and thanks to them for calling attention to this great event. Hundreds of children come to the party and choose, from a wide array of donations, gifts to give their family this Christmas. It’s not too late to donate – please contact me or the BCCA for more information.
The event has outgrown its Anna House, and the Belmont Café offers bigger digs; and I think that there’s something sort of delicious about serving the members of the backstretch on Saturday that on Sunday will be turned into a wagering center. Wonder if there will be any crossover in the attendees?
I was told last night (see the post below this one) by the State Racing and Wagering Board that only OTB or the Legislature could authorize NYRA to stream its own races on its own website. In today’s Daily News, Jerry Bossert suggests otherwise:
Another plan, which Hayward said “could be huge,” is to get approval from the State Racing and Wagering Board to allow streaming of its races live on the Internet.
Currently, NYRA is not allowed to do that because the state’s other regional OTBs won’t allow it, but NYRA thinks the Board will grant an exception under the circumstances.
I’m trying to get clarification on who’s got the power to make this happen. Were it to finally be possible, it would be a huge boon to NYRA’s wagering accounts, and here’s hoping that whoever can make it happen, will.
Update: Joe Mahoney at the State Racing and Wagering Board says,
The Board is reviewing NYRA’s proposals on in-home simulcasting/video streaming and other matters. Section 1003 of the New York State Racing and Pari-Mutuel law requires tracks to first obtain permission from OTBs in order to carry live video streaming. To video stream in the entire state, NYRA would have to have agreements with all of the state’s OTBs. That is how the Board interprets the law. To change that law would require legislative approval. Chairman Sabini has indicated that this Board stands ready to do whatever it can legally do to work with our stakeholders to keep the New York handle from migrating to entities outside of this state.
Bossert also writes about the possibility of racing returning to television in New York City, which would make an awful lot of people happy. I was speaking last night with a NYRA employee who talked about the senior citizens who contact him to talk about the horses, senior citizens for whom it’s hard to get out, particularly in weather like this. One wrote yesterday, mourning the loss of racing TV in this city: he liked watching the horses, and the channel kept him company. A lot of people, for a lot of reasons, are missing Channel 71 today.