A respected expert on racing matters has been selected for a new position to advise New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on racing and gambling issues.
Gov. David Paterson has recommended Charles Diamond to a state board with vast regulatory authority over New York's racing and gambling industries.
- By Steve Haskin
By Steve Haskin - When the doors of the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., open for Silver Charm Aug. 6, there will be no one blocking his way, and he will take his rightful place among the greats of the sport.
Two months after conducting initial hearings in Albany and New York City, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing was back in public session Thursday at a daylong program held at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs.
Violators of New York's racing laws would face sharply higher fines under a new bill pending in the state Senate.
Tim Smith, the former commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association who is now heading Friends of New York Racing, announced some plans for the organization at a press conference in New York Feb. 16.
State negotiators have agreed to pump more money into racetracks to help get New York's new video lottery terminal program up and running this year.
A deal to sell the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. still awaits final approval from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and the delay could thwart the plan for this year.
While pushing to take over the New York City Off Track Betting Corp., Barry Schwartz has been busily pressing top state lawmakers at the Capitol in Albany to back him on what has become his other chief lobbying mission this year: lowering the takeout at New York racetracks.
Promoters pushing to legalize video gambling at racetracks in New York have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks to make a last-gasp push to get the controversial devices turned on at Thoroughbred and harness tracks. The quiet but intense effort, first reported by The Buffalo News, has been spurred by a new plan to use the state Lottery Division as a possible way to allay concerns about the constitutionality of the machines.
Officials in New York are rushing to get legislation approved to re-open one of the nation's oldest, nighttime harness tracks, Batavia Downs, in time for racing to begin this summer for the first time in three years. Batavia Downs, located outside Buffalo, became the state's first -- and so far only -- racetrack purchased by an off-track betting corporation, which in New York are publicly owned entities. Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. purchased the ailing track in 1998 for $2.5 million, but was rebuked from opening it for racing when other tracks, fearing competition from a government- owned facility, said the state could not budge from New York law that bars OTBs from operating racetracks.
New York Senator Joseph Bruno backed away from his plan to scrap the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, according to his spokesman. There was no reason given for Bruno's change of heart.
An unusual meeting of the usually fractious factions in New York's racing industry quietly met near the state Capitol recently to explore whether a renewed effort should commence to bring video lottery terminals to racetracks. The session, called by a Standardbred breeders group, led to the creation of a committee of the often-competing interests to determine if they can get together to end years of stalemate over the VLT issue.
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