Racetrack casino gambling in New York grew in all but one facility in the past year, as the net winnings of the racinos topped $1 billion for the first time since slots were permitted in the state in 2001.
Empire City at Yonkers, which saw a higher net win than the seven other racinos combined, drove the better performance figures. It reported a net win – which is total bets minus payout to gamblers – of $554.2 million, up 11.2% from the previous year.
Jennifer Givner, a lottery division spokeswoman, attributed the increase to bettors in the New York City area choosing to stay closer to home during the recession rather than traveling to casinos in Connecticut, Atlantic City or Las Vegas.
In all, the net winnings for the racinos were up $72.2 million from the previous year, or 7.5%. From the overall $1.04 billion in net win for all eight racetrack casinos, revenues are then distributed to various pots, including public schools, commissions to the VLT operators, and horsemen.
But all was not good news. At Monticello Casino and Raceway, which has faced mounting pressure from gambling expansion in nearby Pennsylvania, net win was down 5.6%.
Givner attributed the Monticello loss to a rapid expansion of facilities, including offering of table games, at the Pennsylvania casinos.
And Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, the first track in the state to offer VLTs in the early 1990s, posted only a 1% increase in net win, its lowest since opening.
Other track net win increases in the last year included Batavia Downs Casino (9.6%), Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway (7.9%), Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack (7.7%), Tioga Downs Casino (4.3%) and Vernon Downs Casino (2.9%).