Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 | 5:49 p.m.
Nevada's $59.5 million horse race-betting sector will continue operating after the Nevada Gaming Commission pressed Thursday for the industry to avert a shutdown that threatened to take effect as early as Friday.
The shutdown was threatened after the state's 83 race books were unable to agree on a new contract with Las Vegas Dissemination Co., the lone facilitator of pari-mutuel wagering in Nevada.
For a fee, the company disseminates information on races throughout the country and arranges for funds wagered in Nevada to be included in the pari-mutuel pools for each race at each track. In pari-mutuel wagering, bettors bet against one another on the outcome of races with the tracks and sports books taking a cut of the dollars wagered.
During a meeting in Las Vegas crowded with sports book operators, LVDC officials and their attorneys, the Gaming Commission successfully pressed for the parties to agree to a new seven-year deal with assorted LVDC fee increases.
Terms of the deal were reached by the parties during multiple closed-door meetings during breaks of the commission meeting.
Part of the problem for all involved is that horse racing nationwide is a declining industry, with revenue for Nevada sports books tumbling from $87.2 million in 2004 to $59.5 million last year.
But sports book operators said wagering on horse races still is important for their books.