New York Panel Set for Another Hearing on Franchise

New York Panel Set for Another Hearing on Franchise
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The New York Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering will hold the first of three public hearings on the future of the Thoroughbred racing franchise in the state Sept. 27.

The hearing will be conducted at 11 a.m. EDT in Hearing Room A of the Legislative Office Building in Albany, the state capital.

During the hearing, legislators will review Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s franchise recommendations and his memorandum of understanding with the New York Racing Association, which he has selected to continue operating Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga. The committee also will discuss economic and regulatory issues related to Spitzer’s recommendation.

Paul Francis, director of the Division of the Budget, and Patrick Foye, downstate chairman of the Empire State Development Corp., will outline and comment on the recommendations, according to a release from Sen. Bill Larkin, who chairs the standing committee.

“It is very important for our state’s horseracing, agricultural, and tourism industries that an appropriate business model for managing the state racing franchise is identified as soon as possible,” Larkin said in a statement. “We will continue this process so that the state racing franchise can be awarded by the Dec. 31, 2007 deadline.

“Further, the franchise should be awarded to the most qualified bidder that can vigorously manage and strengthen New York’s horse racing industry. Consideration must be made soon to select the (video lottery terminal) operator that is most capable of maximizing revenue which will ultimately support state education programs and curtail future school taxes.”

The committee held a hearing on the franchise recommendation in early September, soon after Spitzer selected NYRA. Some legislators have recommended other entities be included in operating the franchise.

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