- Some discussion in the comments section as to what exactly the governor is proposing for Belmont VLT's. So the following is the exact language of the Memorandum In Support, Part GG, to "Authorize video lottery gaming at Belmont Park and modify commission rates at Aqueduct Racetrack"
Purpose:I put Section five in bold, this being the clause that the reader took for meaning that a Belmont racino would not be contributing to purses and the breeding fund. However, if you look at the Tax Law 1612 referenced, you'll recall that that clause, which does indeed provide the percentage breakdowns for purse and breeding fund contributions, also carves out Aqueduct. NYRA's splits were part of the franchise bill, and they differ from the 8 3/4% specified in this law for the harness tracks - it's a formula which eventually settles at 7 1/2%.
This bill would authorize the operation of video lottery terminals (VLTs) at Belmont Park, increase the commission rates paid to the operator of VLTs at Aqueduct, set the commission rates paid to the operator of VLTs at Belmont Park, and make modifications to the NYRA racing support payment schedule.
Statement in Support, Summary of Provisions, Existing Law and Prior Legislative History:
Section one of this bill amends Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law §212 to create a local advisory board at Belmont Park.
Section two amends Tax Law §1612(b)(1)(ii)(B) to provide a commission to the operator of VLTs at Belmont park of 36.5% of net machine income.
Section three amends Tax Law §1612(b)(1)(iii) to provide that the vendor's marketing allowance for any operator of a racetrack located in Nassau County shall not exceed 8%.
Section four amends Tax Law §1612(b)(1)(ii)(F) to disallow the operator of VLTs at Belmont Park from qualifying for a vendor's capital award.
Section five amends Tax Law §1612(b)(2) to exclude Belmont Park from the distribution to breeding and purse funds established in this paragraph.
Section six amends Tax Law §1612 to add three new subdivisions h, i, and j to establish a mechanism to select an operator of VLTs at Belmont, establish racing support payments from the VLTs at Belmont, and to modify the racing support payment and commission rate at Aqueduct when video lottery gaming commences at Belmont Park.
Section seven and eight amend Tax Law §1617-a to authorize video lottery gaming at Belmont Park.
Section nine provides for the effective dates.
The Video Lottery program was first authorized in 2001. At that time, Belmont Park was specifically prohibited from operating a video lottery facility. This bill would provide the Division of the Lottery with the authority to license the operation of VLTs at Belmont Park.
This bill would also make modifications to the commission rate and racing support payment schedule from Aqueduct to accommodate additional VLTs at Belmont Park.
Enactment of this bill is necessary to produce receipts necessary to support the Financial Plan over the forecast period and to generate a franchise payment of at least $370 million in 2010-11 for the right to operate VLTs at Belmont Park.
This bill takes effect immediately.
You'll also notice that this proposal calls for the operator at Belmont to retain 36.5% of net machine income, and to "modify" the rate at the Big A when (and if) Belmont opens. The rate presently provided for Aqueduct starts at 32%. So here's wondering if Delaware North and its well-connected lobbyists have been holding out for a higher rate, if that has contributed to the delay in the MOU, and if these clauses are a result of that.
A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would not comment on the Belmont proposal, saying only that "we are currently reviewing the entire executive budget." But Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who heads that chamber's racing committee, told Tom Precious of Bloodhorse.com:
"I don't see the fiscal reality in us doing Belmont to include VLTs.....If the idea is to do some economic development there, like a hotel or conference center, that could be doable."That's exactly what Silver's position has been all along. So here we go again.
"But, as far as having a full-fledged VLT facility with 4,000 to 5,000 machines? That's economically infeasible. It's just saturation. To have 10,000 VLTs within seven miles is a little bit ridiculous," said Pretlow, who like Paterson, is a Democrat.