08/17/2001 12:00AM

New York schedules OTB hearings


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - New York State Senator Joseph Bruno has called on the Senate's Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering to schedule hearings to debate publicly New York City's plan to sell New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Bill Larkin, will hold three hearings, Bruno said in a press release, although none have been scheduled yet. The hearings will be in New York City, Albany, and western New York.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced two weeks ago that it had selected a partnership of Magna Entertainment, Greenwood Racing, and two real estate developers as the winning bidder for OTB. The city, which selected the Magna group over a partnership headed by the New York Racing Association, said it valued the bid at $389 million.

Any sale of OTB would have to be approved by the legislature because existing law designates the city as the only lawful offtrack betting operator. Passing the legislation will be difficult this year because of a protracted battle over the state budget and the complexity of the bill, officials have said.