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Friday, April 04, 2008

No Sign of Slots

- The local Queens Courier notes that NYRA is "in limbo" regarding the selection of an operator to run the VLT parlor at Aqueduct.

Governor David Paterson is new to negotiations and has no prior involvement in any meetings concerning Aqueduct nor does his staff. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Senator Serphin Maltese met with Paterson to impress upon him that this is an important issue and his administration should move on it quickly. [Queens Courier]
The governor is currently occupied with finalizing the state budget, which is four days late and counting. This is the first time in four years...that the deadline has been passed by more than 24 hours. [Daily Politics blog] The legislators will be spending the weekend in Albany, so don't expect to see Senator Bruno at the Wood.

One thing most people agree about the budget is that it's still too large, especially with some programs cut by Spitzer having been reinstated, and a perfectly sensible, in my opinion, 1% income tax increase on people making over a million bucks a year having been killed by Senater Republicans (it was also opposed by Paterson).

Hey, here's an idea to raise some more revenue - how about slots at Belmont? But I haven't read a single word of that issue still being alive.


Anonymous said...

TVG is reporting that War Pass was injured on the flight to NY for the Wood Memorial. He was cut on the chin and it required three stitches.

The point was raised about giving him a local to perform the sitching [unclear if it was given or not] and how that could exclude him from starting.

Could be a minor point but we'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Legislators also suffered their first pay period without a paycheck. The money is being withheld under state law because the budget is late. The deadline was April 1.

On the Aqueduct VLT facility, budget planners agreed the state should borrow $250 million that would be paid back over 30 years. The video slots would produce an estimated $300 million in gambling revenues annually for education spending.

The Aqueduct VLT operator would have to pay the state $250 million as a fee by March 31, 2009, the official said.

The arrangement allows the state to plug a hole in the budget. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer had proposed a $250 million franchise fee from the operator of a VLT parlor at Belmont, but Assembly Democrats refused to allow the gambling hall at the Nassau County track.

Two development teams, Capital Play LLC and SL Green, are competing for the Aqueduct development rights. Neither has indicated that the rights for Aqueduct are worth as much as the rights for Belmont, so the budgeting plan may hit some snags.

Spokesmen for Gov. David Paterson would not confirm the arrangement, expected to be inserted in a budget bill.

Although some observers say the plan amounts to a fiscal gimmick, Sen. John Sabini, D-Queens, a member of the Racing and Wagering Committee, said he likes it.

"If it gets Aqueduct moving and we get the money back, it's alright with me," he said.

Alan Mann said...

jk - Thanks a million for that link.

But I'm not entirely clear on what he's saying. In addition to the $250 million fee due next year, the operator will be required to pay another $250 up front in the form of a loan?

Anonymous said...

As I read it, New York State will borrow $250 million up front against the future payment of the slot franchise fee. I guess they can't wait until next spring for the actual payment to be made. The State will get an additional $250 million next spring when the slot deal closes.

The original loan will be paid back over the next 30 years even though the State gets its money back next spring.

They tried to get an additional $250 mil. for Belmont slots but that bird did not fly.

It is municipal finance, New York style.

Anonymous said...

Hey -

I thought there were no slots because Pataki was delaying them ...

Alan Mann said...

>>I thought there were no slots because Pataki was delaying them ...

Touché ! He played his part, but it's been a team effort to be sure.

Unknown said...

This slot business is a whole lot of nonsense. The State and NYRA must be kidding if they think they are going to generate the money they are projecting. Video slots at Aqueduct ?
Who is actually going to drive or take the train over to that neighborhood to put a card into machine- Please! - what a waste of time and money -

A 1st class Racino at Belmont is the only realistic money maker play.