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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Addicted to Slots (Part 287 or so)

- The Associated Press reported yesterday that New York State has become increasingly dependent on revenue from the state's eight racinos as lottery sales level off. While total Lotto and scratch-off sales are still slightly up overall, the results from the VLT's are defying trends in the gambling industry.

More than half of all racino revenue came from Empire City at Yonkers Raceway, which opened in 2006 and is the only video gambling operation located in the lucrative New York City-area market. Revenues at Yonkers were up April-through-October compared to 2007, even as the economy sputtered. In fact, revenues were up at all racinos except for the one at Monticello Raceway.
Our friend Bennett Liebman is quoted here as saying that the coming racino at the Big A could cut into Yonkers' business; but a lottery spokesperson disagreed: "We think the total pie will get bigger at the expense of out-of-state facilities." Hmmm, can't imagine that an Aqueduct racino won't have at least some negative effect on the business at Yonkers.

Liebman also warns that gambling is not a recession-proof business and racino revenues could still falter. Indeed, though I've wrongly predicted gloom in the recent past, the figures at Yonkers for October and November have indeed leveled off; that despite the easing in the gas prices that were supposedly preventing gamblers from traveling to Atlantic City.

The Monticello racino will be moving along with the racetrack to the new Concord complex....or at least we hope so. The latest news is that developer Louis Cappelli, who has already gotten tax breaks way above and beyond the call of duty from both the state and Sullivan County, is asking for even more assistance in the face of the financial crisis.

And tomorrow, Governor Paterson will announce his ideas for $2 billion in spending cuts for the current fiscal year; cuts which are expected to include education and Medicaid. I guess if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself, especially when you're depending on New York State legislators, of either party, to actually cut spending. His call for the Senate and Assembly leaders to come up with $1.5 billion in cuts was met with stony silence. As the Daily News' Bill Hammond wrote: The only sound at the Capitol was crickets. Well, maybe that plus the sound of labor union leaders burning up their internet lines. And perhaps mayors warning against the dangers of cutting local aid.

Next week's special budget-cutting session, with a lame duck Republican majority in the Senate, promises to be interesting if not particularly productive. With the so-called Gang of Four down to Three, and with even the most ardent of the group, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr, not sounding inclined to switch parties at this point, the Democrats will, next year, have a majority of at least 32-30. That tally is pending the results of the recount in Queens SD-11, where incumbent GOP Senator Frank Padavan leads Jim Gennaro by less than 1,000 votes.

10 Comments:

jk said...

It is a bit of a hike from Queens to Yonkers Raceway. My guess is not much business would be lost to the Big A plus I doubt anyone from Nassau would take a hike to the Big Y. There should be enough business for both. Adding slots to the Big A and Belmont is another story.

Anonymous said...

Based on what I have read, this blog has a gambling feel to it, so my bet is the Aqueduct VLT parlor never gets built and that Delaware North moves over to get a piece of Belmont Park's action, perhaps having sensed this from the start of the bidding process. This would better explain the companies overzealous bid for a VLT license at Aqueduct, knowing it could benefit by a Belmont development as well. Even if there are ultimately machines at both Aqueduct and Belmont, an adjustment downward of the $370 million upfront fee, or an increase in the operator percentages must occur or the projected returns just don't work. I think all along the plan has been to tear down the Big A structure, sell some ground to the Port Authority and do some nice in-fill commercial and residential development on the site. Although the community would not have its racetrack and gaming halls, it would have something that fits better with plenty of taxable businesses and individuals to make up for no racino. Lots of permanent jobs without the gambling nusiance, too. Then, move everything to Belmont Park. Build a new winterized racetrack and small grandstand on the grounds facing a different way adjacent the existing building, and do a whopper of a destination entertainment resort on the remainder of the property. Silver would come on board because he belives there is only room for one VLT facility in this market and his pal Patricia Lynch respresents Vornado Realty Trust, a key real estate development component in the old Excelsior Racing bid that stressed Belmont Park as the real go to deal. There will be plenty to do at this mega-site, so bring in Wynn to share a piece, along with the original mastermind's Fields and Mulrow who convinced Spitzer, Paul Francis, Darren Dopp and others from the old Administration including the NYRA, that this plan would be best for NY. This is essentially the Spitzer plan he announced from early-mid 2007 that didn't quite come together before he pulled it back. Currently, the NYRA has hired a long range master planning company for the three racetracks, so it would seem, if my theory is correct, that this company will indicate the same when it hands off its report to Paterson's Asset Privitization and Maximization Committee. If the high profile consultans say so, and the Paterson Special Committee approves the same, then bye-bye Aqueduct, hello The Grand Pelican at Belmont Park, (or something with a Vegas-like name, a la NY) Imagine how the losing bidders that spent millions of dollars and their time in this process would react if this scenario ever plays out?

Any bets?

Anonymous said...

I'd say the 4:48pm Anonymous post is the "CHALK" in this race. 3-5 odds or quite possibly, a walkover.
And I don't think it's IF; I think it's WHEN.

Anonymous said...

Whoa back, great thinking. If so, does Albany and the connected parties think we are all idiots?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget another player in this story-the mob ie organized crime. Yes, despite what you read it still is in operation. Do you really think the Mob does not want a slice of this pie, and a big one at that?

Anonymous said...

Who's team is the mob on? DelNorth, NYRA, Excelsior at Belmont, or just NY State?

Anonymous said...

Follow the money: who paid the freight for Elliot's personal pecadillos, since he "didn't use public or campaign funds for his nasty little habit?" Can't imagine it came from his and Silda's joint checking account, did it?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 4:40 poster. There is no way DelNorth puts that type of money upfront for a mom and pop slot parlor at Aqueduct. If they get VLTs at both downstate tracks, and a reduction in taxes owed the state, then maybe.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:28--what team is the mob on? the mobd will be on the team with the MONEY--They always get there "piece" -do you really believe they will stay away from all this money on the table???--just like all commercial construction money in New York City-the Mob will get in, oversee and get there money--look at Scores nightclub-it started legit-made tons of money-the Mob then entered and got there money. Remember-FOllow the Money--the Mob always does.

Anonymous said...

never thought about the mob when thinking about the vlt and racing award, but there is a lot of construction jobs to build out these places, then comes the "cash." Doesn't Delaware north have a mob tained background from the days of the current jacob's father?