An industry-funded study concludes that video lottery terminals in New York will not only save racetracks, but pump at least $1 billion into the state's coffers to support education.
The New York Racing Association has made improvements in its financial practices in recent years, but state auditors have questioned a number of big-ticket expenses, including money NYRA donated to charity but did not report to federal tax officials and consulting and lobbying expenses.
The New York Racing Association says legislation that would allow it to reduce dates at Aqueduct has met no opposition from other racing groups, but at least one legislator has reservations. The bill was reported out of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, and is expected to be approved by the lower House within weeks.
The state Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate Racing Committee chairman William Larkin that would, at the request of the New York Racing Association, change state law to lower the number of mandatory racing days at Aqueduct from 107 to 95.
The first bid by an off-track betting corporation to operate a racetrack in New York has taken a major step forward after a bill sailed through the state Assembly.
A deal to sell the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. still awaits final approval from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and the delay could thwart the plan for this year.
Bills that would allow New York to join the National Racing Compact are moving through the legislature. New York would become the ninth member of the compact, which facilitates licensing for owners, trainers, jockeys, and harness drivers.
The legislation, sponsored by six members of the Republican Senate majority, comes a couple months after a similar bill was introduced by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the state Assembly. Whether anything comes of the proposals will be known in the coming months, but advocates said the new Senate bill represents a growing recognition -- at least among lawmakers who represent racetracks -- that VLTs can bolster the racing industry.
Total pari-mutuel handle in the United States crept up 0.7% to $18.16 billion in 1999, according to the latest statistical information released by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Handle on horse races was up 1.7% from 1998, while Greyhound and jai alai handle fell 4.8% and 11.6%, respectively.
Richard Bomze, president of the New York THA, said Wednesday the organization that represents horsemen at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga met the week of April 9 and decided to support the plan pushed by NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz.
A New York coalition has agreed to open up its wallet to fund a quick study of video lottery terminals in an effort to convince state lawmakers and the governor to permit their operation at racetracks. The legislative session is expected to extend into the summer.
A state judge in New York has slapped down the governor's ability to negotiate casino deals on his own with Indian nations -- a major ruling that could halt a number of efforts under way by tribes to build new casinos.
The long process to name a purchaser for New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. reached an expected final step when city government narrowed the field to two final bidders: a consortium headed by the New York Racing Association, and another by Magna Entertainment. Meanwhile, Gov. George Pataki, in a brief interview this week, said he favors the sale of NYCOTB. Pataki, who can kill any deal when it comes to Albany for review, has been largely silent on the issue in recent months.
The Jockey Club today reported the North American registered foal crop for 1998 at 35,917.
With a decision on the sale of the lucrative New York City Off Track Betting Corp. imminent, one of the groups vying for the contract has hired another influential lobbyist in Albany to help close the deal with state officials if it should emerge victorious in the bidding. The group, led by Magna Entertainment, confirmed Thursday it has retained as its second lobbyist William Powers, who until only last month was the state's powerful Republican Party chairman.
A plan by Republicans in the New York Senate would pump an additional $7 million into the state's Thoroughbred breeding fund.
The use of phenylbutazone would be permitted on race days in New York under legislation recently proposed by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Yonkers Raceway booster. In New York, the pain-killer can't be administered to a horse within 48 hours of a race.
All parties that met the city's demand of a bid of at least $250 million remain in the running for ownership of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., sources close to the situation said Thursday. City officials have strongly denied a published report this week that the field has been narrowed to two bidders -- one group led by the New York Racing Association, and the other by Frank Stronach's Magna Entertainment.
Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. paid $2.5 million for shuttered Batavia Downs, but thus far has been unable to win legislative approval to open and operate the upstate New York Standardbred track.
New York Senator Joseph Bruno backed away from his plan to scrap the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, according to his spokesman. There was no reason given for Bruno's change of heart.
The New York harness track raised some eyebrows in December when it said its primary option in the event of an emergency was to "say the Rosary," but it recently submitted a proper evacuation planand was licensed for 2001.
Bennett Liebman, who served on the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for 12 years, has accepted a job as counsel to the House racing committee chairman in New York.
The New York Racing Association saw decreases in the combined on-track handle, attendance, and total handle for Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
The campaign funds were donated to George Pataki's re-election campaing before they were appointed to the board of trustees, an upstate New York newspaper reports.
Formal bidding on New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. began Thursday. Organizations have until Nov. 10 to submit a formal bid for the nation's most lucrative OTB franchise.
The state and federal probe of an alleged money-laundering operation and tax-cheating scheme at New York Racing Association tracks could stretch on for months, law enforcement sources said.
- By Tom Precious
Money-laundering, ties to organized crime alleged in investigation into the handling of money at New York Racing Assocation tracks.
An Indian nation in upstate New York has begun marketing a successful, cashless betting system used at its casino to racetracks, and it says the system could revolutionize the pari-mutuel industry.
A special committee will decide which New York City Off-Track Betting suitors can formally bid to purchase the OTB franchise. New York City Mayor Rudolph Guliani is expected to appoint the committee by the end of the week.
Several high-profile racing bills suffered quick deaths as the New York legislature ended its 2000 session.
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