While unveiling what he called the framework of a Thoroughbred franchise agreement, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno blasted the New York Racing Association Feb. 7 for attempting to scare its workers and horsemen by threatening a shutdown Feb. 14.
A tentative deal is within reach to give the New York Racing Association a 25-year franchise to run Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, legislative sources said Feb. 6, the same day NYRA indicated live racing at Aqueduct could end Feb. 14.
The temporary extension given to the New York Racing Association to operate Aqueduct has allowed government officials to boost the rhetorical wars against each other over the failure to devise a long-term franchise deal.
Racing will continue to be run at Aqueduct on New Year's Day under an agreement reached Dec. 31, but government negotiators failed to resolve the permanent Thoroughbred franchise issue in New York.
With closed-door talks failing to produce a deal on a new Thoroughbred franchise in New York, state officials have begun discussing getting the framework of a deal in place before a Dec. 31 deadline with passage of an agreement by the legislature in early January.
With a franchise expiration date of Dec. 31 fast approaching, it still remains very unclear who will be in control of Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga in 2008 and beyond.
The top Republican in the New York legislature, after months of pessimistic offerings, believes a deal on the state's Thoroughbred franchise could be struck before Thanksgiving if "productive" talks are successful.
A new state corporation would be created to select new operators of New York's three-track Thoroughbred racing franchise under a plan by the Republican-led state Senate.
New York's top Republican lawmaker said a plan by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to give another exclusive racing franchise to the New York Racing Association will not be approved by the legislature in its current form.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer raised the possibility that a decision on who will be the next Thoroughbred racing franchise-holder in the state might not be made before the legislature ends its session near the end of June.
The New York legislature's top Republican believes the New York Racing Association will soon get the remaining $19-million state bailout to keep it from seeking bankruptcy protection.
A deal to provide a $20-million bailout to the New York Racing Association received Senate approval March 1 and heads to Gov. George Pataki for his signature.
New York Gov. George Pataki is offering $10 million in immediate aid to help keep the ailing New York Racing Association from insolvency, and he pledged to work with legislators on another measure to lend NYRA cash against its future gaming proceeds.
New York's top Republican in the state legislature has called for the creation of a $30-million state fund to help the New York Racing Association overcome its financial crisis while the state speeds up the process to award a new Thoroughbred franchise.
Not only will Saratoga Gaming and Raceway not close down its video lottery terminal parlor in August to accommodate the New York Racing Association, but there is talk of the NYRA neighbor adding another 700 VLTs, a state official said.
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.
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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