05/06/2002 11:00PM

Push to alter New York slot bill

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Supporters of video-gambling machines in New York are pushing Gov. George Pataki to modify the legislation that legalized the machines so that racetracks receive a larger cut, New York Racing Association and legislative officials said Tuesday.

The changes would give tracks 17.5 percent of the net win from the slot-like machines, up from 12.5 percent, and extend the duration of the bill from three years to five, according to Steve Casscles, a legislative aide to Sen. William Larkin, chairman of the state Senate Racing and Wagering Committee. "These things would help the tracks get the cash flow to where they can build what they need to build and get the machines operating," Casscles said.

The bill, passed late in 2001, legalized video-gambling machines at six racetracks and earmarked 60 percent of the net win to the state's education spending and 15 percent to the lottery division. Of the remaining 25 percent, half was to go to the tracks and half to horsemen and breeders.

Track operators, including Barry Schwartz, the chairman of NYRA, have criticized the bill's split of the gambling revenues, calling it inadequate to pay for extensive renovations or secure loans from banks to build additions to the grandstand.