Tom Precious

Stalled VLT Operation Leads Racetrack to Close

Batavia Downs, believed to be the nation's oldest nighttime Standardbred track, will not open for racing this summer because of dwindling revenue and an inability to get financing for its racino operation, track officials said.

Consolidation of Racing, Gaming Sought in New York

New York Gov. George Pataki May 27 proposed a complete overhaul of racing laws in the state, a move that would block the New York Racing Association's bid to get its racetrack franchise extended this year, and provide incentives to get video lottery terminals in operation at Aqueduct.

VLTs Spark Interest in Long-Shut Tioga Park

An investment group is taking ownership of Tioga Park, shuttered to racing in upstate New York since 1978, with plans to begin Standardbred racing next year in a facility that it hopes will also include a video lottery terminal casino.

Merger Talks Between NYRA, Magna Resume

The New York Racing Association and Magna Entertainment Corp. again are discussing merger possibilities, two months after the NYRA board flatly rejected a bid by Frank Stronach's company to become financial partners.

Takeout Rates Again Fuel Conflict in New York

Pari-mutuel takeout wars have begun in New York, where a state senator has introduced legislation to increase the amount the New York Racing Association keeps on wagers. Though the measure's sponsor said the takeout hike is needed to help stop NYRA's financial bleeding, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz insists the legislation would turn off bettors and decrease purses.

Horsemen's Bill Introduced in New York Senate

Two weeks after floating its legislative proposal around the state Capitol, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has found a legislator to introduce a measure that would force the New York Racing Association to reimburse millions of dollars it borrowed from the horsemen's purse account.

Plan Requires NYRA to Repay Purse Fund

The New York Racing Association would be legally required to reimburse horsemen in the state for the millions it borrowed from their purse fund to pay for its operations, according to a proposal being quietly shopping around to state legislators.

Law Firm Tabbed to Monitor Operations at NYRA

A Manhattan law firm with broad investigative experience has been named by a federal judge to oversee the finances and operations of the New York Racing Association to ensure it is in compliance with an oversight process ordered last year by the U.S. Attorney's office.

New York Racetrack Denied Operating License

State regulators have denied a 2004 racing application for troubled Vernon Downs, a Standardbred racetrack in central New York. The Feb. 27 ruling by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board prohibits racing at the facility and keeps shuttered a recently completed video lottery terminal casino.

Measure Would Give N.Y. Tracks Full Casinos

Racetracks in New York would be permitted to have full Las Vegas-style casinos under new state legislation that also calls for a constitutional amendment to permit non-Indian casinos in the Catskills and Western New York.

New York Breeder Nielsen Dies

Gerald Nielsen, a prominent New York breeder instrumental in building up the state's breeding industry, has died. The cause of death was not immediately known, but Nielsen had been scheduled to come to Albany Monday to lobby state officials on breeding issues.

NYRA Claims $3.5 Million Undercutting by OTB

The New York Racing Association is filing paperwork stating its intent to sue the New York City Off Track Betting Corporation for undercutting simulcasting fees, the latest in a long line of tussles between the two influential industry groups.

New York Racino Stalled by Licensing Difficulties

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.

NYRA Fined $3 Million; Two Officials, Four Tellers Indicted

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.

NYRA Indicted; Avoids Trial and Retains Right to Operate Tracks

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.

Reports: NYRA Indictment Imminent; Franchise Safe

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.

New York Legislation Would Tighten Licensing Standards


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.

Officials, Others Ponder Future if NYRA is Indicted

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.

Budget Plan Would Put VLTs at New York OTBs

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.

Anti-Trust Concerns Lead to Veto of New York Legislation

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 to Test for EPO Antibodies Beginning Nov. 1

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.

NYRA Hires New Chief Financial Officer

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.

Reforms for Pari-Mutuel Wagering Security Outlined

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.

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