Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) today
outlined the parameters of an expected agreement reached on the New York
Racing Association (NYRA).
The tentative agreement is anticipated to receive legislative approval later this
afternoon, just hours shy of the second deadline looming for NYRA's expiration.
The first deadline was missed when all parties failed to approve a deal re-authorizing
NYRA by December 31, 2007.
Provisions of the NYRA agreement include the following:
Authorizes a not-for-profit corporation, known as New York Racing Association, Inc.
(NYRA) to conduct racing at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks for 25
Clarifies that the State owns all the land underlying the Racetracks; all improvements
thereon and all physical assets thereon and that all assets associated with the
franchise and the operation of the Racetracks, including, without limitation, all rights
to intellectual property and simulcasting;
Reconstitutes the NYRA Board of Directors to include a total of 25 members of which
14 would be appointed by NYRA; seven appointed by the Governor; two by the Senate
and two by the Assembly. Of the Governor's appointees one would be made upon the
recommendation by the horsemen, one upon the recommendation by the breeders,
one upon the recommendation by the AFL-CIO and one would be a representative of
Creates a Franchise Oversight Board (FOB) made up of five members: three by the
Governor and one each by the Senate and the Assembly. The FOB would have the
following goals: ensure quality racing and growth of the industry, raise revenue for
education and ensure integrity and public confidence in the actions of NYRA;
Provides that the FOB functions would include but not be limited to: monitoring NYRA's
compliance with the terms of the franchise agreement; recommending to the Racing and
Wagering Board to terminate NYRA's franchise upon NYRA's failure to comply with
performance standards; holding title to the tracks and any improvements thereon; and
representing the State's interest in the VLT facility at Aqueduct and real estate
development at Belmont;
Authorizes the FOB to create local advisory boards for each track to allow for the
opportunity to offer input on any development plans advanced by NYRA or the
Requires NYRA's franchise agreement to contain performance standards, to be reviewed
by the FOB every four years, related to racing dates; NY bred races; stall maintenance;
jockey and equine safety; CAFO; backstretch operations; and the Saratoga training track;
Provides a statutory percentage payment to horsemen and breeders at NYRA tracks and
harness tracks; increased payments to VLT vendors at all tracks with VLT facilities;
increased marketing allowances to VLT operators; and capital expenditure allowances for
approved capital expense plans.
"I am pleased that after a year and a few months, we have finally reached what I and
others believe is an agreement on NYRA. It is good news for local taxpayers, the horsemen,
the breeders, racing enthusiasts and for the future of racing in New York State,"
"Especially important is that this agreement reflects fundamental core values, including
protecting Saratoga taxpayers and the integrity of our local racing product, along with preserving
the cultural and historical character of our racetrack," concluded Tedisco.