06/19/2013 12:43PM

New York deal would extend slot machines to offtrack betting

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A deal reached between New York state legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Tuesday night would give two Long Island offtrack betting companies the right to operate slot machines and cap the amount of money from gambling that is directed to purses at New York’s three biggest tracks.

The deal, which is expected to be voted on by Friday, would not go into effect unless New York voters also approve a constitutional referendum in November. Under the deal, the state would make four “destination resort” casino licenses available for upstate locations as well as authorize 1,000-machine gambling halls in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, to be operated by the financially challenged county-owned offtrack betting companies.

Five full-blown casinos, all owned and operated by Native American tribes, already exist in New York. In addition, there are nine casinos located at New York racetracks that can operate only video-lottery machines, a term for a type of slot machine that is tied into a central processing unit and administered by the state’s lottery.

Cuomo has insisted that New York needs to expand the number of casinos in order to compete with neighboring states. The four new casinos would pay 37 percent to 45 percent of their gross gambling revenue to the state as a tax, but would not be required to make any contributions to the racing industry.

Casinos at racetracks currently pay out approximately 60 percent of their gross gambling revenue in taxes and payments to the racing industry. A consortium of racetrack casinos have rallied around that discrepancy as saying that the deal sought by Cuomo is unfair because it will give new casinos two competitive advantages over the existing racinos: a lower tax rate and the ability to offer table games.

The bill would direct 2.75 percent of gross gambling revenue from the video-lottery parlors in Suffolk and Nassau counties to horsemen at the three tracks operated by the New York Racing Association, which is currently controlled by the state. Another 0.5 percent would be directed to breeders’ awards from the parlors.

The bill caps the amount of money that NYRA’s horsemen can receive from casino revenue at the amount distributed in total this year by a lucrative casino at Aqueduct racetrack operated by Genting, a Malaysian conglomerate. In 2012, horsemen received $44.5 million from the casino. The total is expected to be several million dollars higher this year based on robust business at the casino.

Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said Wednesday afternoon that lobbyists for the horsemen are still delving through the details of the massive and complex bill. But he said the horsemen supported the establishment of the two Long Island casinos, though he expressed disappointment about the cap on purse payments.

“That was a nuance that had not been advertised,” Violette said.

Both Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation and Nassau Off-Track Betting Corporation are struggling financially as handle migrates from brick-and-mortar locations to account-wagering sites. Suffolk filed for bankruptcy in 2012, following the lead of New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, which closed its doors for good at the end of 2010.

Senor Enrico More than 1 year ago
People want to be entertained in a clean, modern, fun and family oriented environment. Who takes his family to go to Aqueduct. It's a dump. Unfortunately horse racing is tied to weather and outside a few weekends in late June or July, Belmont doesn't provide the needed environment. So get rid of Belmont and Aqueduct. Fix Saratoga up with new hotels etc. and race from Memorial Day to Labor day. That's what people want. Horses during the summer and indoor casinos with its amenities the rest of the time. Its simple tying the two year round creates supporting something that is not self sustainable, and that's bad. Build and schedule around people wants and demands. Unfortunately there is no demand for horse racing in NY outside the summer. The numbers prove it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are you retarded?
mikey More than 1 year ago
Horses i dont need no stinkin horses.That will be NYRA'S new saying.Slot's make more money and are better to deal with than the horsemen.Guess the GOV lost at the track so he is getting even.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Casino gambling is the mortal enemy of Horse Racing! The more states that buy into casinos, the less states will have horse racing. It's a shame
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
at the risk of getting into this thing to deeply.it sounds as though cuomo is stabbing the racing game in the back. funny,he is the one who cleaned house at NYRA and instilled his own executive panel. this same panel just selected the new president of NYRA. let me take a wild stab at it .his loyalty will be with the horsemen,not the guys that hired him who were hired by the man looking to destroy the game. NOT.
Billy More than 1 year ago
With the exception of a few slot parlors downstate, New York already has enough gaming. Squeezing the Indians and horsemen will work a little to create revenue but it's consequential so it's unnecessary and it lacks class....Everybody, especially the people of New York state, would be better served if they looked elsewhere and fixed something that is broken, instead of mess up something that is working perfectly fine. ..but that's government.
Billy More than 1 year ago
inconsequential..typo
russell More than 1 year ago
I hope its not in my backyard. I agree with Mike and Lew below.
Chas Glazer More than 1 year ago
It will be just a matter of time before Cuomo is busted for some illegal political dealings...Not only is he clueless on how to run a State, he is extremely cocky and is no doubt going to be a 1-term Gov...
Mike Marceda More than 1 year ago
Cuomo will chip away at purses. It's only a matter of time.
Lew Gelbman More than 1 year ago
just what is needed to help racing, more slots, how about reducing the take out and keeping a better eye on cheating trainers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just read on newsday.com this deal does not depend on the statewide vote this Nov- for the Long Island VLT's. Nassau OTB wants the 1000 machines to be placed in the race palace- Again good luck with the parking there.....