July 9, 2024 – An impasse that caused havoc on handle data during the week of July 4th was caused by the New York Racing Association's demand that FanDuel pay a higher %age of its handle from New York state residents.

During that specific week, Belmont at Aqueduct handled 50.4% less money than it did for the week ending on July 9, 2023. Every week featured the Belmont Derby and ancillary prizes on the Saturday after July 4.

In comparison to July 3–9 of last year, there was an 8.3% decrease in the overall handling from Monday to Sunday due to that kind of dip on the most popular signal in North America. However, removing Belmont at Aqueduct left all other tracks with a strong increase of 10.1%.

Andrew Moore, the General Manager of Racing at FanDuel only had this to say in an email “We’ve seen a negative impact for sure, but due to our overall volume, not nearly as bad as NYRA has. This situation is bad for almost everyone, us, NYRA, and fans.”

Due to a contract dispute between NYRA and FanDuel, fans cannot view or wager on NYRA content on FanDuel. This will certainly impact Thursday's Saratoga opener, as well as Belmont at Aqueduct. According to FanDuel, the NYRA requests an extra 2% of all handling from New York residents, including wagers on races held in other jurisdictions, in addition to the customary host charge.

Host-Fee Agreements

FanDuel stated that the NYRA wants a %age paid on all transactions from New York residents, which would include bets made on races in other jurisdictions, in addition to the customary host fee, which is paid by third-party bet takers to the host track.

"NYRA agreements have traditionally been host-fee agreements for content only, but recently they also want a share of New York residents' play from us regardless of what content those residents bet on," Moore said.

"They’ve basically said that if we don’t pay that, then we don’t get access to NYRA content. This sort of local market access is a common fee in ADW wagering, but the issue here is that we already pay it. We pay a 5 % state origin tax to New York state based on New York residents’ play on horse racing, around $18 million a year. NYRA management has told us that they don’t feel they get a fair cut of that tax, and I don’t disagree. But the state handles that distribution, not us. We have already been paying NYRA an additional %age of New York residents’ play, but they want to increase that and that’s the crux of the impasse." The NYRA racing manager adds.

FanDuel declined to provide market share or handle statistics, but the difference is noticeable when looking at the total handle. From July 3–9 of last year, NYRA handled 30.5 % of all dollars; this year, it only handled 16.5%, and the following eight tracks handled 51.2 %, up from 39.2 % in the previous year.

NYRA was hesitant to credit its drop in handle to a lack of distribution, noting that Belmont Derby day, July 6 this year, and July 8 last year, was down 51.8 % on a 28 % drop in field size and one fewer race.

New York-Based Horsemen Affiliations and Groups Rally with NYRA

When asked about the NYRA and Fan Duel dispute, Tina Bond, the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association president had this to say: “New York's horse owners are deeply invested in making the NYRA racing product the best in the country. We staunchly agree that fair compensation for that investment is imperative. If the New York Thoroughbred industry thrives, we all benefit."

NYRA negotiates signal contracts from July 1 to June 30 of each fiscal year. NYRA requested comparable terms from all of the main ADWs in a letter to account-wagering providers of this year's renewal. What Churchill Downs Inc. and 1/ST Racing agreed upon is unknown, but NYRA content was accessible last week on both businesses' platforms and is expected to be accessible at Saratoga this week.