- Tom Precious is reporting on Bloodhorse.com that there appears to be a deal. Let's proceed with caution though, because we've read stories of an imminent settlement before; and Precious writes that the deal "is still coming together."
A source close to the talks said NYRA officials were still reviewing the terms of the final deal, but that its executives believe they can live with the terms of the tentative deal. [Bloodhorse]According to the report, NYRA prevails on the new board, which would consist of 25 members, 14 to be appointed by NYRA. Negotiators cautioned that the final bill is still being reviewed and some terms still could be changed this afternoon.
The story also says that the agreement will include a higher split of VLT revenue to "other tracks in the state." That would presumably be great news for those affected by the shutdown of Vernon Downs. But we'll see if the harness horsemen get their 8.75%, and if "other tracks in the state" means that the NYRA horsemen are stuck with the 6.5% in the MOU.
And, more importantly, we'll see if there's really an agreement.
- Jeff Scott, writing in the Saratogian, is still wondering whether Joe Bruno has had something up his sleeve with respect to his opposition to the MOU.
Finally, what connection, if any, does Bruno have with Capital Play Inc, one of the four original bidders on the franchise?Way back when this mess was just getting started, the young Bruno was employed as a lobbyist for Magna.
Excelsior Racing and Empire Racing, the other two non-NYRA bidders, have effectively ceased to exist. The Australia-based Capital Play, however, is still very much on the scene and (according to Bruno) is one of two finalists being considered to run the proposed slots operation at Aqueduct. Bruno’s son Kenneth, by the way, is reportedly employed as a lobbyist for — you guessed it — Capital Play. [Saratogian]
[UPDATE: Associated Press is also reporting that there's an agreement, confirmed by two state officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement hasn't been officially announced.
[UPDATE: The Head Chef writes: "Congrats to NYRA. I just heard on the news." On the news?? What station could she possibly be listening to? WOTB?]