With scandals at the New York Racing Association having left a string of criminal convictions over the past couple years, the chairman of the Senate racing committee has proposed legislation to tighten state law to ensure convicted felons cannot obtain racing licenses in New York.
As the racing industry's breath-holding continues as it awaits the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office, it is a question state and federal officials, as well as NYRA's boosters and competitors alike, have been increasingly pondering.
Video lottery terminals would be permitted at off-track betting facilities in New York under a plan being considered by state budget negotiators. The idea is being promoted to deal with another huge, multibillion-dollar budget looming over the next two years and a failure by racetracks to get VLTs up and running quickly enough to send revenue-sharing money to the state.
Legislation designed to make it easier for New York tracks to coordinate racing schedules and sell their products jointly has been vetoed by Gov. George Pataki, who said the bill could "work to the detriment of New Yorkers who patronize horse racing and betting facilities."
New York regulators Oct. 21 gave final approval to a new rule authorizing the testing of post-race samples for performance-enhancing erythropoetin antibodies. The New York Racing and Wagering Board said the testing would begin Nov. 1, which would make New York the first state to require the test.
New York Racing Association officials said it appears losses were kept relatively low from a September incident in which at least a dozen wagering outlets failed to stop taking bets after a Belmont Park race had begun.
The embattled president of the New York Racing Association resigned Monday evening, in a move NYRA officials hope will quell the firestorm that is threatening their franchise to run the state's three premier racetracks.
The New York Racing Association, poised to make major reorganizational changes in a bid to keep its racing franchise intact, has hired a new high-level executive to oversee its much-criticized finances.
The trustees of the New York Racing Association, a target of allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement, met in private Sept. 24 to devise ways to keep from losing the franchise to operate the state's premier Thoroughbred tracks.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will recommend a series of reforms to the racing industry in the aftermath of the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 wagering fraud, including creation of a central, nationwide authority to help oversee security issues.
Magna Entertainment Corp. is still very much interested in entering the New York racing market, and would seek to obtain, if it becomes available, the New York Racing Association franchise, the head of the company said Aug. 5.
Federal prosecutors are preparing an indictment against the New York Racing Association that will allege a corporate conspiracy that permitted corruption to occur at its three racetracks. Sources also say the state is currently developing a contingency plan in case the NYRA is ousted from its duties.
After mailing out 180,000 vouchers to its fans, the New York Racing Association has scuttled its marketing tool known as the "mystery voucher'' program after state regulators ordered new safeguards implemented in the program.
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said he came away from a one-hour meeting with New York Racing Association Chairman Barry Schwartz convinced that NYRA will now be taking steps to improve the operations he sharply criticized last month following a three-year investigation.
Using a smiling, cigar-chomping photograph of gangster Al Capone atop a caption saying "he would have loved'' the thought of putting slot machines at New York Racing Association tracks, casino mogul Donald Trump has joined in on the growing chorus of NYRA critics.
The charges and countercharges battle between the New York Racing Association and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer continued June 24, with NYRA charging the state's chief law enforcement agent "does not understand NYRA's operations," and that he made "no attempt" to make his damaging report balanced.
State officials should consider removing the New York Racing Association as operator of Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga racetracks for ignoring and covering up an empire overrun with employee corruption that includes cheating of its customers, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has charged.
The New York Racing Association cannot proceed with its video lottery terminal program unless it strikes a deal with its horsemen to reduce the revenue-sharing for purses in the later years of the program, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz said.
A deal to bring video lottery terminals to New York racetracks with an increased slice of the pie for track operators includes other provisions, including removal of restrictions on pari-mutuel takeout. The VLT deal is expected to bring the state $165 million this year, legislative sources said.
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.
New York is poised to give a greater share of video lottery terminal revenue to racetracks and at the same time add more to education, New York Racing Association chairman Barry Schwartz said April 18.
Racing and Las Vegas-style casino betting would go hand-in-hand under the latest high-stakes gambling hall proposal for the Catskills resort area of New York. Back for a second try, this time with a different Indian tribe as partners, Alpha Hospitality on Thursday filed an application with the federal government to build a $500 million casino adjacent to Monticello Raceway.