- All three bidders for the mythical Aqueduct racino have been deemed to be "qualified" to run the place by the Lottery. Big surprise there; we're not talking about fly-by-night outfits here. I wonder how many days at $1 million in missed revenue were spent on that process. So, the Saratogian reports, the gaming contract is in the hands of the state's top leaders, indicating that a decision might be made soon. "I wouldn't put a timetable on it," said a Paterson spokesperson. Yeah, I figured that.
Of course, each day that the racino is delayed is good news for the booming Empire City at Yonkers Raceway racino. The pickup is business there has led to the second significant boost in purses for the harness races just since July 1, when the prizes were boosted by 15%. This time the purses will be raised an average of 21.6 percent, starting on August 1. [US Trotting Association]
- NYRA has instituted rolling daily doubles throughout the day at Saratoga. That might seem like a noncontroversial no-brainer, but horseplayers will always find a reason to disagree. A commenter to Tim Wilkin's Talking Horses blog notes:
The novice bettors will bet those rolling doubles, but will not be able to keep track of their bets. They will try to cash double tickets for races 6/7 when they REALLY bet the double in races 5/6 and......Those same novices will trash winning double tickets BECAUSE they cannot keep track of them……STOOPERS take note….BIG $$$ making days ahead!!Yeah! And how about when those novice bettors try to bet the double for races 6/7 when they REALLY want to bet the exacta in the 8th at Monmouth and they try to cash them at a Stewart's instead? I'd be keeping my eyes out for winning tickets all over town!
- I guess we won't be seeing former Senator Joe Bruno at Saratoga much this season after all, since he'll surely be busy with his new job. No, not one for the Paterson administration. But rather, his new gig as the CEO of CMA Consulting Services, a company which has done substantial business with the state.
The company, which was founded by SUNY Board of Trustees member Kay Stafford (widow of former [Republican] Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Stafford), racked up $22,404,765 worth of contracts with the State of New York over the past four years alone. [Artvoice]Recently, CMA lobbied to have its exclusive technology for red light traffic-monitoring cameras approved for use by the state. And it seems none too surprising that the company has already been involved in controversy in this matter regarding suspected improper influence of its lobbyists.
CMA drew some scrutiny this year after it hired Robert Scott Gaddy, a former adviser to Assemblyman David F. Gantt of Rochester, as a lobbyist. Mr. Gantt, the chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, had long opposed traffic cameras as too intrusive, yet he introduced a bill that would allow cities and towns across the state to install them and require the kind of technology that CMA sells. [NY Times]Bruno is prohibited by law from lobbying the legislature for two years. But nothing prevents him from doing business with the executive branch.
James Odato reports in the Times Union reports that Bruno would not disclose his new salary.
Industry insiders familiar with CMA estimated Bruno's salary as being at least four times his pay of $121,000 in the job he held for 14 years as the leader of the Republican-dominated Senate. [Albany Times Union]That's enough for a whole lot of rolling daily doubles.