Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scary times for racing

Delaware North pulls out of VLT deal

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:16 AM EDT

By PAUL POST, The Saratogian


Racing put in jeopardy

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The firm slated to build a racino at Aqueduct Racetrack has withdrawn its offer, possibly jeopardizing the future of thoroughbred racing in New York state.

Gov. David Paterson tabbed Buffalo-based Delaware North Companies on Oct. 10, 2008, to operate 4,500 video lottery terminals at Aqueduct, generating an estimated $450 million per year. But the state and Delaware North never reached a final agreement on the deal.

Now the firm says it can’t secure the financing needed for such an undertaking, a result of the nation’s deepening economic crisis. The move also means that the cash-strapped state won’t get the $370 million Delaware North pledged for the gaming contract.

More importantly, however, without gaming revenues, New York Racing Association won’t have the funds it needs to run Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

"NYRA can’t exist without VLTs," said Edward Bogdan, a lobbyist for Saratoga Springs-based New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. "They’re going to have to come back to the state (for more money)."

But with a projected $14 billion deficit, the state doesn’t have anything left to give.

NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward was tied up with meetings in New York City on Tuesday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last September, when awarding NYRA a new 25-year contract, the state gave NYRA

$30 million to keep operating until VLTs come on line. Hayward has said that should tide his firm over until the second half of 2010. Recently, he warned about the possibility of falling short of funds if VLT money doesn’t become available.

Now that scenario appears to be playing itself out.

Delaware North President William Bissett says the state plans to rebid the whole project. But that would take months and some bidders, soured by the state’s poor handling of the last selection process, might not want to get involved at all.

There’s a growing belief that major gaming corporations, wearied by the state’s political quandary, are focusing their efforts elsewhere and want nothing more to do with New York.

In addition to the financial crisis, Delaware North was unhappy by Paterson’s recent call for VLTs at Belmont Park, too, a short distance from Aqueduct. The firm said it wouldn’t pay the $370 million pledged to the state unless it was given a greater share of Aqueduct VLT revenues, because of competition from Belmont.

Now, it would be almost impossible to expect racino construction at either track to begin this year — if ever.

Paterson’s office offered no immediate comment, but the development is sure to cause him major political damage with the state already in disastrous fiscal shape. In addition to gaming revenues, Aqueduct was expected to create hundreds of jobs for communities surrounding the track, and without Delaware North’s $370 payment the already-troubled budget faces another gaping hole.

Bogdan’s firm has been lobbying on behalf of breeders for 15 years and for VLTs specifically since 1999. The state approved legislation allowing for VLTs at New York racetracks in 2001. Saratoga Gaming & Raceway was the first track to get gaming in 2004. Six other harness tracks and one thoroughbred track — Finger Lakes near Rochester — have VLTs now, too.

But not Aqueduct.

Delaware North’s partners in the venture included Saratoga Harness Racing Inc., which owns Saratoga Gaming & Raceway. Delaware North operates the raceway’s VLTs and manages Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Charles Hayward told David Grening of the Form that NYRA has $26 million of the $30 million it was given by the state as part of the new franchise agreement that went into effect last fall, and that "I think we'll be fine through the third quarter of next year."


Complete blog is located here:
http://leftatthegate.blogspot.com/2009/03/now-what.html

VictoriousVictorian said...

See the more and more I read this Blog I see that this "Louise" is just trying to start things and make people scared.( my sister once again, told me who writes this blog) People don't need to be afraid in the middle of a recession. I watched a program on the T.V. and they said this was more like a depression. You should be ashamed of trying to rile public panic!! Write about nice things, not things that will scare people. The parks are already overcharging us and limiting our days we should be against NYS, not each other. For shame....

Anonymous said...

Indeed....for shame stvps

Anonymous said...

Who in the world is this Victorious-Victorian??

Anonymous said...

Whomever it is, you never know whether they are friend or foe.

VictoriousVictorian said...

I will not explain myself to anonymous'...
As aforementioned I am a sexy senior citizen, pool lover and park enthusiest!
Its no ones bussiness who i am!

Anonymous said...

That's all meaningless, we still don't know if you are friend or foe and we may never know...it will be pretty easy to figure out as time goes on however. You pool lovers all stick together. I am sure it will only be a matter of time before your true motives are revealed.

Anonymous said...

I think that VictoriousVictorian is dangerous and unbalanced based on some of their postings. We could be in serious trouble, we could have a menace on our hands.

VictoriousVictorian said...

Anonymous at 434.... Friend or foe to who?
Anonymous at 836.....Your the anonymous one one this blog, your the menace! I am balanced fine. I have grandkids, a family and have lived a long and productive life.... Get a grip and leave this blog alone, stop saying all these nasty and hurtful things and get a grip. So what I say to you anonymous....."Don't be a menace to saratoga springs while spewing your non-sense on this blog"

VictoriousVictorian said...

All i do is say the truth and state what I feel. I'm not hard lined to being one way or the other. The truth hurts some people it must hurt you....

Anonymous said...

You will show your true colors one day.

VictoriousVictorian said...

what does that even mean? your a dimwit.

Anonymous said...

You see, that mean spirit is starting to show. You have an agenda here and it will be revealed one day. Do you enjoy scaring people...making them shake in fear? You are not going to cyber bully me. You and your kooky ideas have no place on this blog. I think your name could even be considered intimidating and offensive. I think you need to end your reign of terror immediately before it gets anymore out of hand. "Stuck in the Past" didn't deserve to be bullied and brow beaten by you just because they disagreed with you.

VictoriousVictorian said...

Stuck in the past in an insane individual with many emotional problems.
And I've explained my name months ago its not harrasing, your insulting.
You and SITP have the "kooky" ideas. Keep going with your comments anonymous..... Anything you say that I don't agree with I will certainly counter you on it; STVPS has made this blog an exchange for ideas... You know you and SITP have an aversion to people having fun and enjoying the pool like all new yorkers should have the right to do. SITP is clearly that, stuck in the past, when one has old ideas like SITP then all park/pool and NYS lovers will take a stand against you people. Like Krushchev said... "We will Bury You" You are litterally the one with old archaic ideals, get a grip and act right.

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm acting right, you just have a problem because I'm not stupid enough to see through your act. You can't scare me with your threats...you will never silence me. Every move you make on this blog I will be watching. It will only be a matter of time before you help to destroy the Victoria Pool right along with the Society. And when that day comes I will be standing there watching. You are dangerous...you need to think about what you are doing. And your obsession with "Stuck in the Past" is not healthy, get the grip you incorrectly think I need.

VictoriousVictorian said...

Well you keep taking the bait, your just being foolish, why cant we get along, not attack the park and work tirelessly to protect it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any reason to attack the park or work tirelessly to protect it. You can change the subject all you like. When you finally decide to unleash your reign of evil and terror I'll be ready.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, get back on your meds your fucking nuts.... at least VV tells it like it is. you probabbly work for the city or parks.... I like VV alot more then you or sithp.

Louise: thats how I feel edit it however you want.

Anonymous said...

anonymous is a jerk

save the victoria pool society said...

sorry folks--we did not stop profane comment above. We encourage civility only on this blog.

Anonymous said...

You're trying to use insults and crude language to scare me away but it won't work. Any child can make comments about medication and other foolishness like that. It's sad to see how hostile Victorious makes people. The author of this blog allowed that dirty comment to be posted so you could be revealed as the uncivilized beast that you are anonymous 8:34. Don't worry though...I'm not going anywhere. If you can haunt this blog and this park...so can I!