12/07/2001 12:00AM

N.Y. tracks in slots talks

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TUCSON, Ariz. - New York racetrack owners met with officials from the New York State Lottery Department last week to discuss potential rules for video lottery gaming in the state, New York racing officials in attendance at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing said on Friday.

Ron Sultemeier, the president of Sportsystem Inc., the owner of Finger Lakes Racetrack, described the discussion as a "sort of meet-and-greet." He said lottery department officials told the tracks that they would issue a request for proposals to operate the statewide system by mid-January. The department hopes to accept a bid by March, Sultemeier said.

New York legislators passed a bill legalizing video-lottery machines at several New York racetracks in October, including at Finger Lakes and Aqueduct racetrack. The law was vague on what would constitute a video-lottery game, and lottery officials are expected to determine the definition by the time it accepts a bid.

New York racing officials said Friday that the definition will likely require that payoffs for the machines be determined by a statewide system rather than by each individual machine. That would open up the state to sophisticated gambling machines that look, sound and seem to operate just like slot machines.

"The difference would be imperceptible to the gambler," Sultemeier said.