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Arbitration for Monticello

February 16, 2006

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The Middletown, N.Y., Times-Record reported Thursday morning that racing will return to previous purse levels at Monticello Raceway while the New York State Racing and Wagering Board arbitrates a new contract for the horsemen with the track.

Purses go back up immediately. The simulcast signal will be sent to off-track locations outside New York will be back on satellites.

\\\"The dispute is basically settled,\\\" Richard Parsells, a member of the board of directors of the Monticello Harness Horsemen\\\'ss Association, told the local newspaper.

The horsemen, in a bid for better bargaining position in contract negotitation, withdrew their approval to send out the track\\\'s simulcast signal in January. The track then cut purses in half. In the meantime, handle dropped without the simulcast handle.

Still, neither side could agree on a contract.

The biggest stumbling block in negotiations is what percentage of profits the horsemen are entitled to from the video lottery terminals installed at the raceway. Horsemen have maintained that the track\\\'s owners agreed to a higher percentage back when legislation was being considered in the state capital. The legislation removed the horsemen\\\'s percentage of VLT revenues from the law, avoiding any possible chance that the VLT law could be deemed unconstitutional.

The racing and waging board offered the arbitration Tuesday, with the horsemen immediately agreeing.

Track officials signed on yesterday, adding the stipulation that simulcasting be maintained through 2007 or until the negotiated contract expires, whichever is longer.
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