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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Xmas Eve Notes

Won't keep you too long; just a couple of things and I'll let you get back to your Xmas Eve activities, which I presume does not involve betting on Monticello, which I believe to be the only pari-mutuel action in the country today.

- You can watch Monday's Oversight Board meeting on NYRA's budget here (thanks to Bennett Liebman's Racing and Gaming Today page at the Albany Law School site...which, by the way, serves my racing news link needs just fine).

Of course, as usual, I've already done the dirty work for you, so no need to watch it if you have more important things to do. Besides, the key points were covered in the press.

A few additional observations I'll add:

NYRA's CFO Irene Posio said that the association has been "very successful" in negotiating rate increases over the past few months from out-of-state wagering outlets; enough, in fact, to offset a decline of 7% in co-mingled out-of-state handle.

Regarding the winter meet at the Big A, Ms. Posio said that some trainers who usually head to Florida have kept back 30-40 horses that they wouldn't have in the past (no doubt due to the lousy purses there), and that NYRA is confident that field sizes will be such that they will outperform their warm weather competitors.

Recall that Board member Steven Newman asked about cash flow - NYRA currently has $20 million on hand, but is projecting to have just $10 million at the end of 2009. Noting that NYRA is projecting a $2.5 million profit, Newman wanted to know what happens to the other $12.5 million. Ms. Posio replied that the money will be used for capital expenditures. She added that 2010 capital expenditures will depend on whether VLT's become operational. Unfortunately, there was no discussion of any progress on that front. If there's a big problem with Delaware North, it's the best kept secret in town. However, again I'll say that the fact that Governor Paterson proposed higher retention rates for a Belmont vendor, and then for Delaware North once and if Belmont gets slots, indicates to me that the company is trying to negotiate a better deal at the Big A, with or without Belmont.

And finally, regarding the free admission at Aqueduct, Ms. Posio explains that the size of the track, the number of parking lot entrances, and the requirements of union contracts combine to make it cheaper for NYRA to let people park and enter for free. "Obviously, attendance must not be too high," replied Newman. Obviously.

- Facing what is by New York standards a modest deficit of $2.3 billion, Florida governor Charlie Crist included in his budget $135 million from the invalidated compact with the Seminole tribe that he wants the legislature to negotiate and approve at a special session next month. However, the Palm Beach Post reports that both House Speaker Ray Sansom and Senate President Jeff Atwater say [it] is a no-go.

House and Senate leaders -- having beaten Crist in court on the issue -- are adamant that the Seminole compact needs a full vetting in the regular 2009 session, which starts in March. []
So, state Attorney General Bill McCollum shouldn't expect any legislative help anytime soon in his quest to have the table games shut down, and will instead have to rely on courts which don't seem to have any jurisdiction at all. This article discusses the merry-go-round that usually results when Indian issues go to court.

- And once again this year, I'd like to recommend SOMA-FM's delightful Christmas Lounge for what is definitely the coolest mix of holiday music around. You can find it amongst the I-Tunes radio streams (under 'Holiday'), or at the SomaFM website. Cheers, and have a great Christmas Eve!


Anonymous said...

my x-mas wish is that there are no more hunch bets posted.

Anonymous said...

Good information. I'll look forward to watching the meeting at some point when the holiday action lessens or I need to take a break! Did the NYRA or Newman mention if the $20 million is all "available" cash? hard to believe the DelNorth VLT MOU and proposal weren't discussed at the meeting? keep the public in the dark, a NY special!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:40

I second your wish.

DC said...

Friday's races @ Santa Anita are all off the turf.