With its deal with Virginia’s horsemen set to expire, Colonial Downs has announced that its Alberta, Vinton, Martinsville and Scott County satellite wagering facilities will close on January 31 and remain closed until the problem is resolved, the track said in a statement (here).
Colonial and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), which represents the state’s horsemen, have been unable to reach an agreement on the number of days to run in 2014 and the number of weeks over which to spread them.
Without an agreement in place, the track is unable to accept Thoroughbred simulcast signals, making the satellite wagering facilities not economically viable.
At is December 11 meeting, the Virginia Racing Commission had considered competing days proposals from the track and the horsemen. Colonial had proposed a 12-day micro-meeting, spread over four weeks. The horsemen had countered by requesting 32 days over eight weeks.
With no compromise in the offing, the Commission unanimously approved a 25-day schedule, over five weeks, identical to the one run in 2013. Yet even with the Commission’s strong urging, the sides have not yet finalized an agreement.
“We have offered to sign the exact same contract as last year,” Colonial Downs president Ian Stewart said in a statement. “We have also offered several alternatives in an attempt to accommodate their wishes. However, despite extensive efforts by Colonial Downs to reach a compromise, the VaHBPA has refused to sign a new contract.”
Other off-track wagering facilities will remain open but can only accept wagers on standardbred racing. The closed facilities will not reopen “until we reach a contract resolution that will allow us to re-open them.”
The track said that it believes that licensed advance deposit wagering providers will still be able to accept Thoroughbred signals.