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Indy OTB battle goes on

August 01, 2003

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The Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) voted 3-2 earlier this week to deny a request on the part of Indiana Downs to ban Kentucky simulcasts.

The Shelbyville, Ind., facility was hoping the action would lead to further negotiations with Kentucky horsemen, who currently block Kentucky signals from going to the track's Evansville satellite facility.

Indiana Downs' petition would have made Kentucky signals available to all of the state's tracks and off-track locations, or not offer them to any facility. However, IHRC commissioners decided Tuesday (July 29) such a move could prove costly. According to Hoosier Park attorney Bill Diener, roughly $14 million is wagered on simulcasts from Kentucky each year, generating $700,000 in purses in the state.

Indiana Downs attorney J.D. Lux told commissioners that the lack of Kentucky signals at the Evansville OTB produces noticeable drops in business. He said that during live racing at Churchill Downs, Keeneland and Turfway Park patrons travel to outlets that carry the signals.

According to Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Mark Maline, since Indiana Downs' Evansville facility opened in February, Ellis Park has endured a 35 percent loss of business, resulting in a $700,000 drop in purses.
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