RSS Feed for this Blog

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Belmont Slots Saga, Part GG

- 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"


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.

Budget Implications:

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.

Effective Date:

This bill takes effect immediately.
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%.

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
"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."

"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.
That's exactly what Silver's position has been all along. So here we go again.


Anonymous said...

At this point I have more confidence that the NJ politicians and casinos will continue their annual racing purse supplement for three more years than I do that Albany will get this mess up and running in that same timeframe.

As a small breed to race operation, unless I see significant progress in the next thirty days my mares are heading to PA, where the program is in place, or NJ where the resulting foals face much less competition for similar purses, rather than foal in NY in 2009.

I suspect I am not the only one, especially since the NY farms are raping their boarders with fees, vet and transportation costs that far exceed those in KY for lesser care and conditions.

Greed will kill the golden goose ever time, I sensed it a few years back in Saratoga and I am sensing it now in NY.

Anonymous said...

the answers to figuring out what is being proposed for the Belmont VLT Bill may be found in the franchise Agreement signed by the NYRA as it emerged from bankruptcy.

Section 2.8 Operational Support Payments. (refers to NYRA operating expenses and pension fund payments, SUPPORT FEE) and Section 2.9 Capital expenditures (used for maintaining and upgrading the facilites, CAPEX) both contin the following language after describing the percentage of VLT revenue to be allocated: "provided, however, that, in the event that legislation is passed providing for installation of VLT's and the commencement of VLT Operations at a location at which New NYRA operates racing and pari-mutuel wagering other that Aqueduct, prior to the instalationtherof, the State and New NYRA shall negotiate in good faith to adjust the amount of (SUPPORT FEE)or (CAPEX Amount) for the benefit of New NYRA.

Neither Section 2.10 Purse Support, nor 2.11 Breeder Support, contain any such language, which leads me to believe there is no obligation on behalf of either the State, the NYRA or the Belmont VLT Operator to provide purse or breeder supplements from VLT gaming at Belmont Park.

So what's the real deal?

Anonymous said...

Don't expect to find things better in Pennsylvania. The greed factor is running high here as well.