November 28, 2016
Wild Rose president and chief operating officer Tom Timmons today said the casino-and-entertainment company’s Clinton location plans to introduce simulcast dog- and horse-race wagering by the end of January.
If the system in the eastern Iowa gaming facility runs as planned, Wild Rose would then add TV screens and remote-betting systems for such racing in Jefferson — perhaps in time for the Kentucky Derby in early May, Timmons said in an interview with this newspaper.
“I think it’s possible before the Derby,” Timmons said.
The simulcasting likely would be installed in the Coaches Corner restaurant in Jefferson.
There will be no actual horse or dog track at Jefferson or Clinton. Rather, Wild Rose patrons will be able to gamble daily on horse and dog racing from around the nation through an arrangement with the Iowa Greyhound Association, which operates a track — The Iowa Greyhound Park — and provides live televised racing in Dubuque.
The simulcasting plan would mean that in addition to betting day-to-day tracks from Florida to California, Wild Rose patrons sitting in Jefferson could possibly watch and bet on the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Breeders Cup and other top races.
Casinos in Iowa that don’t already simulcast races or the rights to run them, which includes all facilities except Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Altoona and Horseshoe in Council Bluffs, are, under 2014 state legislation, allowed to ink deals with the Iowa Greyhound Association, which has a lease to run live dog races at a Dubuque track and simulcast horse and dog races from around the nation, state regulators say.
The simulcasting rights for the Iowa Greyhound Association emerged with a deal that allowed Horseshoe in Council Bluffs and Mystique in Dubuque to jettison live dog racing.
Brian Ohorilko, Racing and Gaming Commission administrator, said that panel in October approved a simulcasting agreement between Wild Rose and the Iowa Greyhound Association subject to some regulatory review.
Timmons, a former top Prairie Meadows executive, has served as a consultant to the Iowa Greyhound Association, and is familiar with the racing industry and the rules associated with the simulcasting opportunities.
“It’s more complicated than a casino,” Timmons said.
He sees simulcasting as a way to expand the customer base of the casinos.
“It opens it up to a different patron,” Timmons said. “I think it gives them (people interested in racing) a chance to bring somebody with them.”
Wild Rose operates a third casino in Emmetsburg and is seeking to develop one in Cedar Rapids.