09/09/2007 11:00PM

New York panel to hear three on franchise

EmailThree racing industry officials, including a former New York racing commissioner, Bennett Liebman, are expected to appear on Wednesday before the New York Senate's Committee on Racing, Wagering, and Gaming for a meeting to discuss the New York Racing Association franchise, a spokeswoman for the committee's chairman said on Monday.

In addition to Liebman, now the coordinator of the Albany Law School's Racing and Wagering Program, the other scheduled speakers are Paul Bowlinger, the executive vice president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, and Charles Vickery, a racing consultant, according to Jackie Fiore, the spokeswoman for Sen. Bill Larkin.

The speakers have been asked for recommendations on "an optimal business model for the racing industry in New York," Fiore said.

Last week, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer recommended that the New York Racing Association receive a 30-year extension of its franchise to run racing at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. As part of the recommendation, Spitzer said the state should ask for bids from companies interested in running a slot-machine casino at Aqueduct.

Any deal to award the franchise - which expires at the end of this year - would need the approval of both houses of the New York legislature. While the Assembly is expected to support Spitzer's recommendation, leading members of the Senate have not endorsed the proposal.