(Edited New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. release)
Representatives of the New York Thoroughbred breeding industry plan to give away horseshoes at the State Capitol building in Albany on Monday, July 27, in protest of inaction over Aqueduct VLTs.
At noon that day, a broad and diverse spectrum of New Yorkers who earn their livelihoods by working at the stables and farms of New York Thoroughbred breeders will be taking their case directly to Albany to convince them to act on video lottery terminals already approved for Aqueduct.
Going door to door in the Albany Legislative Office Building members of the equine industry will leave horseshoes "as a sign of disgust over the current lack of progress in rebidding VLTs," according to a New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. release.
“We understand that there is an enormous political fight taking place in Albany that is unprecedented, but we are desperate to protect our jobs, our industry and our families," said NYTB executive director Jeffrey A. Cannizzo. "Placing VLT’s at the Aqueduct track creates money for the state, for education and the thoroughbred industry. Even though it has been approved there is still no action. We are more than concerned. We are fearful.”
Barry R. Ostrager, president of the NYTB board, explained that the current indecision to select a vendor to make VLT’s operational continues to cost New York $1 million a day in revenue.
“Nearly eight years ago state government approved legislation that would allow video gaming at Aqueduct with the appreciation that it would generate a million dollars a day for the state treasury," Cannizzo said. "During the eight years of protracted negotiation New York taxpayers have lost more than $2 billion dollars in potential revenue. Now, with Wall Street in meltdown, sales tax revenue at historic lows and a state deficit of staggering proportions, the continued delay in rebidding the VLT proposal is shocking.”
The petition drive is aimed at convincing Gov. David Paterson and leaders of the state legislature to expedite processing the next round of bids for these crucial electronic gaming terminals, according to the NYTB.
“We, the undersigned, call upon the NYS Legislature and Governor Paterson to finally approve the efforts to make video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Racetrack at reality," the petition states. "Fulfilling the state’s promise from nearly eight years ago to bring VLTs to Aqueduct will result in much needed revenue for the horse racing and breeding industry and the state of New York.”
According to the NYTB, Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding accounts for 55% of New York’s equine industry – the number one agricultural sector of the state’s economy. The organization said Thoroughbred racing and breeding produces 30,000 in-state jobs and billions of dollars for the state's economy and that "The current economic crisis and competition from our neighboring states threatens to devastate racing and breeding in New York."