New York should permit public and private partnerships to bid on the New York Racing Association franchise, allow bettors to wager via computers, introduce frequent-betting rewards programs at tracks, and approve the merger of the state's off-track betting corporations, according to an ambitious legislative package proposed March 9 by Friends of New York Racing.
Friends of New York Racing, a consortium of industry groups and individuals that has been studying and making recommendations on the future of racing in the state, is being formally disbanded at the end of February.
Friends of New York Racing, formed to advocate a new economic model for the pari-mutuel industry in the state, believes backstretch health and welfare issues should be addressed as part of the selection process for the New York Racing Association franchise.
New York officials need to act quickly to launch a major overhaul of racing laws to help jumpstart the state's $1.4-billion Thoroughbred racing industry, Friends of New York Racing concluded in its year-end report on the status of pari-mutuel horse racing in the state.
Revenue to localities in the six off-track betting regions in New York is down more than 50% from 2000 to 2004, according to the results of a study commissioned by Friends of New York Racing, the organization that seeks to build a better economic model for the pari-mutuel industry in the Empire state. Two OTB corporations, Capital and New York City, have issued responses to the report, which they believe doesn't tell the whole story.
A survey authorized by Friends of New York Racing showed many New Yorkers aren't aware of the New York Racing Association's ongoing legal and financial problems, and that they aren't sure how the NYRA franchise should be structured.
Friends of New York Racing, a nonprofit entity formed to devise a new economic model for New York racing, has proposed a profitable public/private structure for the New York Racing Association and installation of video lottery terminals at Belmont Park.