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Friday, May 11, 2007

More NYRA Hiccups

- Charlie Hayward told Paul Post of the Saratogian that NYRA is continuing efforts to find new partners for a proposed video lottery terminal facility at Aqueduct.

"MGM was a funding source and a casino operator," Hayward said.

New firms are being sought to finance and run the project.

"They may not be one and the same," he said.
Sounds like it's not going as smoothly as they may have hoped. One would think that, given the fact that Gov Spitzer has Aqueduct slots revenue built into his 2007-08 budget proposal, the state would be taking an active role in facilitating NYRA's efforts. One would think.

NYRA's internet wagering program, re-scheduled to launch on Thursday, has been delayed again due to what its website terms a "few technical issues" that are "minor and correctable." It was originally supposed to start on May 2, but was moved back due to "system glitches." I guess that a "few minor and correctable technical issues" are a move up in class from "system glitches." There was also the ballyhoo regarding the announcement that NYRA would accept internet bets from Connecticut residents, which never really made much sense to me anyway; it's now been scrapped after objections from the state. Well, we've been waiting for this for years now, what's another few days?

- Monmouth opens its meeting on Saturday, and the track has been spruced up in anticipation of the Breeders Cup to be run there this fall. Things are not good with racing in the state, as the Atlantic City casinos continue to stick to their opposition to slots at the tracks there (though not, in the case of Harrah's, to their own racino in Pennsylvania). Ray Kerrison of the NY Post provides this startling and sobering statistic about the Meadowlands, which has been battered by the high purse structure at Yonkers: Betting on its races has plummeted alarmingly. It is only one-fifth of what it was 20 years ago. Now I'm presuming that he means on-track wagering, but that gives us an idea of how badly the live racing audience has shrunk.