OTB Operations in New York Seek Concessions on VLTs

As New York's racetracks ponder the economic feasibility of installing Video Lottery Terminals under legislation that became law in October, off-track betting operations in the Empire State are asking for VLTs at their parlors.

According to the Albany Times-Union, Capital Off-Track Betting is seeking to retain the services of a new lobbyist to help make its case for anywhere from 500-1,000 VLTs at its teletheater in Albany, N. Y. if the Saratoga Equine Center in Saratoga Springs gets the machines.

"If the Saratoga Equine Center gets VLTs, you could probably kiss goodbye the kind of handle we do at the (Albany) teletheater," Thomas Cholakis, who heads the 16-county Capital OTB Corp. told the newspaper.

The Saratoga County legislative body must approve VLTs for them to be implemented at the equine center.

The Times-Union reported that because the OTB corporation did not get its requests in the legislation legalizing VLT, it has dismissed 25-year lobbyist James Ryan. The paper reported Ryan was paid $150,000 in 2001 to represent the interests of the betting parlors throughout the state, excluding New York City OTB, which has its own lobbyist.