11/03/2005 12:00AM

Big A slots split reached


An agreement has been reached on how to distribute money from the operation of slot machines at Aqueduct - scheduled to begin late next year - between the the New York Racing Association, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, and the New York Breeding and Development Fund, the groups said Thursday.

The agreement will give horsemen 7.5 percent of all net revenue from the machines during the first three years of operations at the track casino, which is expected to open next fall. In years four and five, that number will rise to 7.75 percent, and in all years after that, horsemen will receive 10 percent of the revenue.

In addition, the state's breeding fund will receive 1.25 percent of the revenue in the first five years, and 1.5 percent after that.

As part of the agreement, $3.5 million of the proceeds for horsemen will go toward capital improvements on the backstretches of NYRA's racetracks for as long as the association has the franchise on racing at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. NYRA's current franchise expires in 2007.

The slots operation will be overseen by the state lottery and managed by MGM Grand, which is providing a $170 million loan to NYRA for renovation at Aqueduct. The casino is expected to take in anywhere from $650 million to $1 billion in bets annually through 4,500 machines.