by Anthony Afffrunti
The debate between Nassau Regional OTB and the New York Racing Association rages on as the historic Saratoga racing season nears with its first race less than a week away.
Both sides continue to fire back at each other over the issue of whether Nassau Regional OTB’s internet streaming of live races at New York tracks was done intentionally without consent.
NYRA states that NROTB didn’t have approval to use the signal without its consent, which is in violation of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board rules and an act of piracy. NROTB acknowledges that the streaming was run due to a third party error, and when brought to its attention it was stopped immediately back in mid-April.
NYRA cut its television signal in Nassau County on June 3 in response to what NYRA claims was the lack of a response from NROTB.
"We didn’t ask for an apology. We asked how long did they know, and if in fact they knew," NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward said. "It’s relevant. Video streaming is an intellectual property. You can’t take it for free. This went on for 2½ months.
"Capitol OTB also streamed races without our consent and we told them we wanted a letter stating they were wrong. They sent it in four days. They don’t want to cooperate. I wish we could get this resolved before Saratoga."
NROTB President Dino Amoroso denies it pirated the signal knowingly.
"It’s untrue. Let’s set the record straight," Amoroso said. "I sent three letters to Mr. Hayward stating that both Scientific Games and Roberts Communications acknowledged that they put the signal over the internet. We did not. Both admitted in affidavits that they made the mistakes.
"Mr. Hayward is a liar and a thief. He wants me to lie. We stopped it immediately when we found out in April. Capitol OTB admits they took the signal intentionally. They were never cut."
NROTB has filed a $30 million lawsuit against NYRA in Nassau County Supreme Court claiming damages on background and defamation. It could be a long time before racing fans in Nassau County can watch racing on NYRA’s channel.