Track operators in New York are gearing up for a major lobbying battle against an effort to spread video lottery terminals beyond the state's horse racing industry.
Licensing problems have delayed, for possibly well into 2004, the opening of Vernon Downs, which was to become the first racetrack in New York with video lottery terminals. That honor will now go to Saratoga Raceway, which is scheduled to open its VLT operation in mid-January.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking someone to oversee the recently indicted New York Racing Association, which can avoid prosecution on the indictment if its monitor says it has stayed clean.
The New York Racing Association, under investigation for more than three years, was indicted Thursday on fraud and conspiracy charges. Besides the indictment of NYRA, the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn also unsealed indictments against two former directors of the parimutuel department as well as four former tellers on conspiracy and tax fraud charges.
The New York Racing Association's political muscle had nothing to do with the deal in which prosecutors agreed to indict NYRA, but not prosecute it if it agrees to certain reforms and pays a $3 million fine, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz said Thursday.
The New York Racing Association, under investigation for more than three years, was indicted Thursday on fraud and conspiracy charges. Despite that, NYRA will be able to retain its franchise to run three premier Thoroughbred tracks in New York under a "deferred prosecution'' deal in which it will escape a trial in return for reforming its operations, according to the deal agreed to by federal prosecutors and the NYRA board of trustees.
New York media outlets have reported an indictment of the New York Racing Association on conspiracy, tax evasion, and fraud charges is expected, possibly as soon as Dec. 5. In an unusual deal, NYRA would be allowed to keep its franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, according to the reports.
With scandals at the New York Racing Association having left a string of criminal convictions over the past couple years, the chairman of the Senate racing committee has proposed legislation to tighten state law to ensure convicted felons cannot obtain racing licenses in New York.
Two months after he resigned as president of the New York Racing Association, Terry Meyocks remains on the job -- a move that is making some government officials start to privately grumble.
After years of dipping into purse accounts to meet expenses, the New York Racing Association has, under pressure from horsemen, opened a new account that will be solely for maintaining purse winnings.
As the racing industry's breath-holding continues as it awaits the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office, it is a question state and federal officials, as well as NYRA's boosters and competitors alike, have been increasingly pondering.
Video lottery terminals would be permitted at off-track betting facilities in New York under a plan being considered by state budget negotiators. The idea is being promoted to deal with another huge, multibillion-dollar budget looming over the next two years and a failure by racetracks to get VLTs up and running quickly enough to send revenue-sharing money to the state.
Legislation designed to make it easier for New York tracks to coordinate racing schedules and sell their products jointly has been vetoed by Gov. George Pataki, who said the bill could "work to the detriment of New Yorkers who patronize horse racing and betting facilities."
New York regulators Oct. 21 gave final approval to a new rule authorizing the testing of post-race samples for performance-enhancing erythropoetin antibodies. The New York Racing and Wagering Board said the testing would begin Nov. 1, which would make New York the first state to require the test.
Trifecta wagering will be permitted on more races under a rule adopted Oct. 15 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
The longtime head of a quasi-state agency charged with financing improvements at New York's top Thoroughbred racetracks has resigned under a cloud, government officials said Oct. 9.
A few months after it was slapped with a $10,000 fine over its last promotional mailer, the New York Racing Association is trying again.
New York Racing Association officials said it appears losses were kept relatively low from a September incident in which at least a dozen wagering outlets failed to stop taking bets after a Belmont Park race had begun.
The embattled president of the New York Racing Association resigned Monday evening, in a move NYRA officials hope will quell the firestorm that is threatening their franchise to run the state's three premier racetracks.
The New York Racing Association, poised to make major reorganizational changes in a bid to keep its racing franchise intact, has hired a new high-level executive to oversee its much-criticized finances.
The trustees of the New York Racing Association, a target of allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement, met in private Sept. 24 to devise ways to keep from losing the franchise to operate the state's premier Thoroughbred tracks.
State regulators have taken the formal step of stripping the racing licenses of seven illegal immigrants who were arrested while working as grooms and exercise riders at Saratoga in July.
New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi, who believes the New York Racing Association is unwilling to reform operations, has called for the creation of an independent inspector general to monitor NYRA.
A track operator and a leading handicapper at an Albany Law School conference Aug. 5 were unable, not surprisingly, to agree whether the growing use of rebates in the racing industry is a good thing.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will recommend a series of reforms to the racing industry in the aftermath of the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 wagering fraud, including creation of a central, nationwide authority to help oversee security issues.
Magna Entertainment Corp. is still very much interested in entering the New York racing market, and would seek to obtain, if it becomes available, the New York Racing Association franchise, the head of the company said Aug. 5.
In another blow for the New York Racing Association, state regulators have fined NYRA $10,000 for launching a marketing program before getting state government approval.
A draft audit by New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi found the New York Racing Association has come up short in payments to purses and state franchise fees.
In a case closely watched by the racing industry, a New York judge today upheld legislation permitting racetracks in New York to offer video lottery terminals.
Federal prosecutors are preparing an indictment against the New York Racing Association that will allege a corporate conspiracy that permitted corruption to occur at its three racetracks. Sources also say the state is currently developing a contingency plan in case the NYRA is ousted from its duties.
After mailing out 180,000 vouchers to its fans, the New York Racing Association has scuttled its marketing tool known as the "mystery voucher'' program after state regulators ordered new safeguards implemented in the program.
New York is poised to become the first state to begin testing horses for blood-doping antibodies used to enhance performance, New York State Racing and Wagering Board officials have announced.
The New York Racing Association, facing legal and political battles on a growing number of fronts, will not be getting its request to lower takeout on bets for the upcoming Saratoga meet.
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said he came away from a one-hour meeting with New York Racing Association Chairman Barry Schwartz convinced that NYRA will now be taking steps to improve the operations he sharply criticized last month following a three-year investigation.
Using a smiling, cigar-chomping photograph of gangster Al Capone atop a caption saying "he would have loved'' the thought of putting slot machines at New York Racing Association tracks, casino mogul Donald Trump has joined in on the growing chorus of NYRA critics.
The embattled New York Racing Association, currently fighting off blistering investigations by state authorities over its operations, discovered June 25 that nothing is a sure thing anymore.
The charges and countercharges battle between the New York Racing Association and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer continued June 24, with NYRA charging the state's chief law enforcement agent "does not understand NYRA's operations," and that he made "no attempt" to make his damaging report balanced.
Quickly taking advantage of a new pari-mutuel deregulation move by the state, the New York Racing Association has proposed reducing its takeout on certain bets at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
- By Tom Precious
Trainer Juan Serey has had his license revoked by New York regulators, who found him "financially irresponsible'' and, therefore, unable to remain in business as a Thoroughbred trainer.
Trainer Juan Serey has had his license revoked by New York regulators, who found him "financially irresponsible" and, therefore, unable to remain in business as a Thoroughbred trainer.
Trainer Nick Zito has dropped his legal fight with New York racing regulators and decided to begin serving a 10-day suspension slapped on him more than two years ago.
State officials should consider removing the New York Racing Association as operator of Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga racetracks for ignoring and covering up an empire overrun with employee corruption that includes cheating of its customers, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has charged.
A dispute over video lottery terminal revenue splits has been resolved by the New York Racing Association and the group that represents horsemen at NYRA-operated racetracks.
The head of the horsemen's group at New York Racing Association tracks said he is in no rush to share additional video lottery terminal revenue with NYRA.
The gubernatorial veto of a new video lottery terminal plan in New York was overridden May 15 by the state legislature, seemingly putting an end to months of uncertainty over the legislation.
New York City off-track betting parlors would be permitted to install up to 4,500 video lottery terminals under a proposal made May 13 by Gov. George Pataki.
The state of New York and an Indian tribe signed a memorandum of
understanding May 12 for a major casino in the Catskill Mountains resort area.
The New York Racing Association cannot proceed with its video lottery terminal program unless it strikes a deal with its horsemen to reduce the revenue-sharing for purses in the later years of the program, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz said.
A deal to bring video lottery terminals to New York racetracks with an increased slice of the pie for track operators includes other provisions, including removal of restrictions on pari-mutuel takeout. The VLT deal is expected to bring the state $165 million this year, legislative sources said.
A deal to entice New York racetracks to install video lottery terminals was close the evening of April 28, but officials acknowledged a side deal is being hammered out to bring VLTs to the state's off-track betting parlors.
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