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Friday, April 13, 2007

Did Bailey Bail Out Excelsior?

- Reader Late Scratch sums up the ROI's that the three for-profit franchise bidders are projecting for their investors: In order of presentation, Empire quoted 8-11% to shareholders; Capital Play - 30%; and Excelsior 12-15%. Remember that Capital Play's proposal includes a big increase in takeout. That high return would partly be coming from exacta bettors who would see their takeout rate increase from 17.5% to 25%.

A couple of more points from Late Scratch's comment: I find it rather humorous that Excelsior lowered their original VLT take estimate, which they had rolled out a consultant to defend before the Ad Hoc Committee. They were originally projecting a whopping $591 per machine per day at Aqueduct, to rise to $668 after five years ($473 and $572 respectively should there be a racino at Belmont too). Looks like they decided to tone that down a bit considering all the skepticism it drew. But even now, the lowered estimate was challenged by Senator Sabini. At present, Saratoga Gaming & Raceway is reaping $246 per machine, the most of any track in the state with VLTs, he said. [The Saratogian]

And regarding Gary Pretlow, a former member of the Ad Hoc Committee, it's not surprising to see him defending the work he did on that panel. He was the Committee member that was the most outspoken in opposition to this new process. Ad Hoc Committee member Jack Knowles also defended the Committee's pick after the hearing.

"They certainly brought in some heavy hitters to join their team that have a lot of credibility....In many ways it is a stronger team than the one that we were presented with and the written bid that we reviewed."
In his Saratogian piece, Paul Post, writing of Jerry Bailey's appearance, said that should Excelsior prevail, his impassioned speech might very well prove to be the turning point.
"As good as I was, I found that the best way to do it was to get on the best horse....Gentlemen, Excelsior is the best horse."
Maybe so, but Excelsior needs to be careful as to who they have on board to ride it. Sounds like they should have stuck with Bailey.

1 Comment:

Green Mtn Punter said...'s coverage of Steve Wynn's appearance was such a one-sided bash that I begin to wonder what their agenda is? I always look for the amount of print in coverage, what is left out of coverage, and the overall spin of the coverage. I would have to say that has another horse in this race, wouldn't you?
Anyway, time to give Steve Wynn a tutorial in the horse racing business. The smartest thing he could do would be to spend some time with Jerry Bailey and find out how to start up a racing stable in NY. I think this would be very reassuring in the PR-street cred dept, wouldn't it?