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Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve Notes

- Green Mtn Punter asks: for Capitol Play, I thought they were banned from receiving the NYRA signal a couple of years ago since they were involved in questionable off shore rebate activity, or am I wrong?
No, you're right.
In January 2005, New York Racing Association terminated its agreements with four wagering sites named in an 88-count federal indictment. At the time, NYRA was rebounding from major legal problems of its own and was taking extra steps to restore its tarnished image.

Days after ceasing ties with the four indicted firms, NYRA cut ties with six other firms because of concerns about their ownership, customer base and government regulation. Capital Sports (Capital Play) was among them. [The Saratogian]
The company's CEO Karl O'Farrell said: "That was the result of a bad investigation....We're licensed in a first-world country. Our (racing) commission and government were quite peeved." O'Farrell has a NY-based harness breeding farm on board as an equity partner, and financing in place from GE Capital.

But at least one legislator, Rep Gary Pretlow of Yonkers, a member of the Ad Hoc committee, says "To my way of thinking, the race is over."

Green Mtn Punter also points out that the same Saratogian paper has largely downplayed the troubles of Sen. Bruno, who represents the city and has "brought lots of goodies their way." This is in contrast to the hard-hitting investigative reporting going on downstate, particularly in the Times. A lot of people around here still bitterly recall Bruno's ultimately unsuccessful efforts in 1997 to rescind the city's rent control laws; and it was a demonstration of his power and, some would say, arrogance that a Senator representing an area three hours northwest of here would seek to scuttle laws that would have made housing unaffordable for thousands of New York City residents. So no, Bruno ain't gonna get much sympathy from this corner of the state. And I still say he's out as Majority Leader by the time the winter chill thaws.

1 Comment:

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, and, if I recall correctly, Rep Gary Pretlow also chairs the key Assembly committee overseeing racing and wagering, a key legislator any franchise bidder definitely wants in his corner, and based on Pretlow's "race is over" comment it sounds like Rep Pretlow is leaning Excelsior at this point. Your comments on Sen Bruno's downstate image problems are enlightening- looks like a clear case of old ghosts coming back to haunt him. Bruno has been in the legislature for 30 years so it's impossible not to make enemies during that stretch, and also remember that he rose to his leadership position along with Pataki in 1994, and now that Pataki is gone, Sen Bruno no longer has an ally in the Governor's Mansion. So, I would agree with you, I think Sen Bruno will be under growing pressure to step down and, in any event, his political clout has been clearly compromised. And all of this scandal-mongering and political turmoil over a franchise award to a "dying sport"?!A useful by-product of the whole racing franchise award process could be as a fascinating case study course in NY state politics /government/ public administration, sort of an updated companion piece to Robert Caro's brilliant portrait of the legendary Robert Moses in The Power Broker. Hopefully such a case study will be able to show that the political process somehow worked to insure the long-term viability and leadership of the NY racing industry.