Cuomo Wants In-State Phone Betting Company

NYRA entered into contract with Churchill Downs-owned

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says he does not want to be “disruptive’’ to the New York Racing Association, but he still wants the racetrack operator to get an in-state company to run its telephone wagering call center business.

The governor on May 3 showed no signs of letting up on NYRA’s recent decision to have Oregon-based, which is owned by Churchill Downs, run its Telebet operations.

“I reject the theory that we can’t find (a) business in this state to perform or provide this service,’’ Cuomo told reporters.

Cuomo, notably, distanced himself from the state’s Racing and Wagering Board, which approved the contract. “I don’t control the racing and wagering board,’’ Cuomo said. The board’s members were in place before Cuomo took office Jan. 1.

Asked why he did not raise the matter earlier, Cuomo said, “When we found out about the contract, we did. At that point, the contract was executed and approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.’’

NYRA last week said it would be willing to talk with Cuomo’s economic development agency about the matter. But NYRA also noted the contract is already in place, was legally okayed by the state, and came after Yonkers and Saratoga racetracks also outsourced their betting call center business with the Churchill Downs’ owned company.

NYRA said it had to outsource the business in time for an expected boost in business from the upcoming Belmont and Saratoga meets, as well as the Triple Crown race series. It said the Telebet business has surged since the closure of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., and that it needed an experienced company to handle the additional calls. In a letter last week to Cuomo, NYRA also assured the governor that no union teller jobs were lost in New York by the outsourcing deal.

NYRA did not have an immediate reaction to Cuomo’s May 3 comments.

The issue of outsourcing has long been a sticky one at the Capitol. Governors and lawmakers over the years have criticized outsourcing moves by groups like NYRA. But the state, sensitive to setting off procurement wars with other states, routinely awards contracts to out-of-state corporations bidding on government procurement deals.