08/06/2014 3:58PM

NYRA explores self-betting terminals at bars


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Almost four years after New York City Off-Track Betting closed, the New York Racing Association is hoping to re-enter the market by placing self-betting machines at select bars and restaurants throughout Manhattan.

According to Anthony Bonomo, a member of NYRA’s Re-Organization Board, he and NYRA president and chief executive Chris Kay have met with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and hope to finalize a proposal by September that would allow customers who are members of the NYRA Rewards program to wager on machines in some of the city’s establishments. Bonomo said NYRA would attempt to target 50 establishments in the five boroughs.

“We’ve had a couple of meetings with the city, the mayor’s office, and the mayor himself to discuss the strategy,” Bonomo said following a NYRA board meeting Wednesday at the Saratoga National Golf Course. “We’re very far down the line, I think, to getting the approval to go forward with this. It’s good for racing, it’s good for the bar owners because they’re looking for things to attract people into their establishments. It will be very controlled under the auspices of the mayor’s office.”

In order to avoid needing legislative approval for this to happen, only players who are NYRA Rewards members would be able to place a wager in a bar or restaurant.

Re-establishing its presence in the city will be part of NYRA’s long-term planning strategy for re-privatization that it hopes to present to the full board in December, though that plan is not due until April. The plan also will include recommendations regarding NYRA’s two downstate tracks, Aqueduct and Belmont Park.

Michael Dubb, who co-chairs the Long-Term Planning Committee with Bobby Flay, said, “There’s no economics operating two racetracks eight miles apart.”

Dubb said NYRA has engaged an architectural firm to discuss how to make Belmont “suitable for year-round racing, reducing the size of the grandstand, bring in other potential uses for some of the land,” with the goal of bringing more people to the track. “Every major sports venue in the city has been redone ... so we want to be on a level with them,” he said.

Though an alternate use of Aqueduct has not been determined, Dubb said Aqueduct’s “highest value is probably to Genting for future development.” Genting operates the casino at Aqueduct.

In other news:

◗ Through the first six months of 2014, NYRA had net income of $13.9 million but had an operating loss from racing operations totaling $5.2 million. NYRA has handled $1.1 billion this year, a 3.1 percent increase over the $1.078 billion handled through the first six months of 2013.

◗ While not taking a stance on the recent proposal by trainers to gradually phase out race-day medication, Kay said there will be meetings with NYRA’s Racing Committee and Equine Safety Committee “to address the efficacy of race-day medication, knowing the state will ultimately make the final decision.

“We know there are different points of view. We intend to address this issue promptly, fairly, and with all relevant information available to us and consider all stakeholders in this process,” he added. “We’ll do so over the next couple of months, doing what is right for the horse, for us, and for the horse-racing industry.”

◗ Kay was awarded a $250,000 bonus and a 3 percent raise on his $300,000 base salary by the board. “He’s restored NYRA to profitability, built a strong management team, improved equine safety, enforced transparency, and taken significant steps to enhance customer experience,” said Vincent Tese, chairman of the Compensation Committee.

◗ NYRA reported its fatality rate for horses on the track as 1.0 per 1,000 starters, a significant reduction from 2.1 per 1,000 starters in 2012.

◗ Marc Holliday, chairman of SL Green Realty Corp., was named to the NYRA board, replacing Jane Rosenthal, who resigned from the board in May.

Walter More than 1 year ago
Keep Aqueduct alive. It serves a purpose. If Aqu goes, the casino should go too.
tim More than 1 year ago
Video crack in bars. Great idea.
nicholas More than 1 year ago
bye bye Big A
Bill Pizzo More than 1 year ago
We have to renovate Belmont for year round racing (including lights for night racing) in order to get back on the Breeders Cup venue list... It is absolutely criminal that Belmont Park has not been the host track in years and is not even being considered for the next few years as well... The track itself has the 2 best turf courses in America and the 1 1/2 mile Big Sandy is perfect for all distances. And is someone on the BC committee really trying to say that NYC doesn't know how to throw a good party? Come on...... Winterize it, install lights, and Belmont Park becomes the best choice for Breeders. Cup weekend. And if BC doesn't come calling, keep creating race cards like the. July 4th showcase. It was as good as any BC day. Keep moving forward, NYRA, I am finally on board w your moves to revitalize racing in NY
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
NY law needs to be changed for night racing. Ask Walt Gekko.
James Eccles More than 1 year ago
By all means let's spend a fortune and rip up Belmont on the off-chance that every half dozen years the Breeders Cup will be held here. There's more at play her besides the track - it's politics, climate and time zones. The lights make sense but the rest - when did Belmont become perfect for all distances? - unless you consider starting the Classic on a turn perfect.
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
The NYRA is planning to find other uses for the Belmont Park land. This was Frank Stronach's plan at Gulfstream. I view that effort as a failing one. The Stronach Group is now stuck with owning a bankrupt mall. It's land development has never fully materialized. The mall down there was built to add revenues to the track. The Stronach group has been forced to go to year-round racing to help out the mall. Why make the same mistake? The NYRA should focus strictly on racing.
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
The NYRA has been restored to profitability? When did that happen? I do not believe that NYRA has shown an annual operating profit at any point. Maybe, I am missing something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The number one thing he has done is to award contracts to more ADW'S which were backlogged by his predecessor this allows more revenue to flow into the NYRA pool
Pete Sundar More than 1 year ago
Here is what Kay has done which I am most happy about : (a) Have eliminated the dreadful wait time/delay for each race to go off at saratoga (b) institute the pick 5, with only 15% takeout (c) started the new 'insiders" show which is informative, entertaining and educational (d) have hired more varied, knowledgeable and dare I say it, endearing handicappers (e) have created 'events' which have proved to be largely successful e.g stars and stripes festival
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Heading in right direction
billybudd16 More than 1 year ago
Dutchess and Ulster county have had this means of betting for couple of years now. Wake up NYC!!!!!!