Some off-track notes and a quick comment on today's third at Saratoga:
- Governor Cuomo announced, with some fanfare the other day, the opening of a new call center for NYRA's telebet center in Amherst, NY; thus, according the governor's press release, bringing up to 60 jobs back to New York and securing a $750,000 investment to the region.
Of course, it's rather disingenuous for the governor to suggest that 60 jobs were ever actually shipped out of town, since NYRA moved the full-time union tellers that had been working in their call center - approximately 30, according to the association - back to the windows. “The only workers that will be displaced are non-union extras that serve as part-time employees," NYRA's Dan Silver explained at the time, in response to Cuomo's blasting of the association for contracting with a Churchill Downs telebet unit in Oregon.
"I am pleased that we were able to bring these jobs back to New York," Governor Cuomo said. "The proposal to move these jobs out of state should never have happened and I want to thank NYRA and ESD for their hard work in reaching this agreement and preserving these New York-based jobs."
And, while I don't want to belittle the creation of 60 jobs - after all 60 new jobs is 60 new jobs - that number pales in comparison to the number of layoffs with which the governor threatened the public employee unions, while he at the same supported tax cuts for the wealthiest 3% of the state's residents. The low end estimate of the revenue from the expiring so-called "millionaire's tax" is more than twice as much as Cuomo is seeking to save on the state's work force. (The unions will soon vote on contracts that would save jobs in exchange for concessions that include no raises for three years, furloughs, and increases in healthcare contributions.) Just wanted to put this in perspective.
- Charlie Hayward told the Times Union that NYRA so far has captured just 35 percent of the lost NYC OTB business.
"Some may have leaked to New Jersey, some could have gone online, and some leaked to bookmakers," he said, adding that NYRA expects to be profitable next year.Recall however that 35% is the same number that Hayward had said last year that NYRA needed to capture in order to make up for the closure of NYC OTB. So we can figure that NYRA is more or less in the same (unprofitable) position it would have been without the closure as we head into the golden age of VLT's. Difference is that it has built the infrastructure, with its ADW platform and Aqueduct/Belmont simulcasting facilities, and gained long sought-after regulatory advantages such as live streaming and uncoupled entries, that should allow it to make further gains as we go along. And that's not to mention the anticipated purse hikes that should allow the racing to be more competitive for betting dollars during the bleak winter months.
- You may have read about Governor Cumoo being open to the idea of non-Indian casinos being legalized in the state....but don't start making plans. Of course, it helps if the governor of the state is on board; but this is almost a non-story at this point. Casino gambling would require amending the constitution, which presently prohibits full-fledged casinos (except of course for the tribes, which operate in their own little legal netherworld). That would require legislative approval in two consecutive sessions; and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has long been cool to the idea. (Indeed, the Assembly failed to consider the idea after it was passed by the Senate last year.) And even should that happen, the question would have to put before the voters. So don't get your hopes up, cheese, just yet.
- And, as this fairly knowledgeable reader pointed out, Indian Tale, the filly who I mentioned in the prior post, is entered right back in today's third after being claimed on Sunday by Richard Dutrow. I'd mentioned her because it seemed rather odd that this daughter of Tale of the Cat, out of an AP Indy mare, who won her debut by 4 lengths at 5-2 last fall, was entered for the optional $35,000 tag in a race that she was eligible for under the NW 2 lifetime conditions. Now Dutrow enters her right back for 75K and she's listed at 5-2. She did earn a