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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

No Picnic For Big A Bidders

The six aspiring racino operators who put up their $1 million to qualify for the latest round in the Big A sweepstakes convened in a conference at the site on Tuesday. There, they asked questions, and were filled in on the details they need to devise their final bids, due on June 29. The Lottery is to make its recommendation, binding to the governor, on Aug 3. If all of that goes smoothly, I would then expect final approval from the others to come quickly, as I've said before. I don't believe that Sheldon Silver will oppose any bidder properly vetted by the Lottery; and the Senate Democrats, under investigation for their role in the AEG mess, will meekly go along with just about anyone other than Faisal Shahzad or Dean Skelos at this point.

One might wonder however if any of the bidders will wish to continue after what they heard. Lottery director Gordon Medenica pointed out what the contestants probably already knew; that they are in the running for “The highest-ever payment for the highest-taxed gaming operation in the country." [Queens Courier]

And he also pointed out that "The prime beneficiary is the state not the operator." [Crain's New York] Indeed, while the $1 million entry fee is fully refundable, the $300 million license fee is not should issues arise with licensing or other contractual issues once the money is paid just ten calendar days after the final award is announced (with great fanfare at Saratoga I'm sure).

Lottery even noted that although Con Edison has said it will be able to bring more power to the area to run the video slot machines, the state is not providing guarantees. [Crain's]
At this point I imagine that Charlie Hayward would assign employees to sit inside the machines with calliopes and bells and whistles Flinstones-style if that what it takes. (And I'm sure that Lottery will guarantee that its scratch-off tickets will be available for sale.)
Bidders such as SL Green Realty Group, Delaware North and Penn National Gaming have already ponied up a lot of time and money into previously botched rounds to build and operate Aqueduct and it was unclear whether these groups would be willing to go at it again under these new conditions. [Crain's]
So, what if we had a selection process that finally made sense and nobody shows up for the dance?

Meanwhile, James Odato reports on Capitol Confidential that the board of the Empire State Development Corp unanimously approved the $25 million loan which will keep NYRA going until slots get going; in theory, anyway. The agreement still needs approvals by the offices of attorney general and state comptroller.. I got an email from a reader wondering if such approval is guaranteed!! But the attorney general wants no part of this mess once he becomes governor; and the state comptroller wants NYRA around so he can kick them around to help boost his re-election campaign when he announces the findings of his investigation of its finances . So I'm not at all concerned.

- This is the time of year when you have to endure my rantings and ravings about all of the great outdoor events in NYC...especially, of course, the concerts, of which there are many, most though not all of them free, at sites such as the South Street Seaport, Central Park, Prospect Park (not looking good weather-wise for tonight's opener featuring Norah Jones), the East River State Park in Williamsburg, Pier 54, and Governor's Island!! Woo!!

Last night was the Museum Mile Festival on Fifth Avenue, when the avenue uptown is closed to vehicles, and nine museums are generous enough to open their doors for free. Among the exhibits we saw was the Otto Dix show at the Neue Galerie, well worth the half hour wait to get in on a gorgeous NY evening. And among the street entertainers was the one and only Silly Billy! I imagine that he's trying to resurrect his career, like Eminem. I think the last time I saw him was at Belmont Park, back at a time when NYRA would bring in top talent to feature in its family days on effort which, like so many other facets of horse racing in New York, has long been abandoned. Hopefully, better times lie ahead.


Chaaa said...

Lookin forward to your summer music reporting from NYC and other. Will be checkin in with the Delmar opening day scene, surf and music report But mostly 80s reruns cause in Cali they just wanna dance(and not have to think too much)Will also be looking forward to the saratoga music fest on closing weekenfd as you have suggested b4 will be therethis year (also for a loooong hike in the Rondax)

SaratogaSpa said...

Just read that Sirsy, veterans of the Saratoga Music Fest, have been signed to a record label. Always liked the way this duo puts on a show.

Anonymous said...

Good piece on NYRA by Ray Kerrison in today's NY Post. He pours the reader into the cash generation funnel but what comes out at the other end for NYRA is chump change compared to what all of the other siphoners are getting, particularly the education fund.

The potential for VLT revenues is huge but will racing receive it's fair share? As we know, racing seems to exist solely for the benefit of patronage laden OTB's, unions, well connected pols, and the education fund, among others, as pointed out in Kerrison's piece. Racing begrudgingly ends up with a trickle.

The NY racing industry, including fans, needs to make it's case again in Albany for a bigger cut. But in these times that will be no easy task. At the point the economy shows recovery, it should be the industry's top priority to push for major reform of NY racing and pari-mutuel law including a larger share of the revenues generated by it's "product".


Anonymous said...

Unrivaled Belle gets beat. Rachels stock plummeting GS style.

Anonymous said...

Today is made for magic.


figless said...

Based on the figures in the Kerrison article, if the splits are the same for the Big A as they are for the harness tracks, about $50M should go to purses (220k per day, or 22k per race) and a staggering $200M would go to NYRA, excluding the amount dedicated to capital improvements and marketing.

Debt free with no real estate taxes to pay, even NYRA will have a hard time losing money with that gross.

Does the state still get NYRA's surplus or can they retain the profits?

Can they divert some of that money to purses if they choose, since 22k per race barely makes them competitive with the other VLT tracks?

Anonymous said...

"Unrivaled Belle gets beat. Rachels stock plummeting GS style."

You're a complete f-ing idiot. -jp

Anonymous said...

Jp- how many lengths clear of zardana was big z today ( while going 6 wide versus the number two mare in training)?

Rachel is not one of the top 50 horses in the world.

And you're not in the 50 cappers on this site.

Anonymous said...

Zenyatta did it again Today ! I never really looked at her as one of the greats, but I think any horse racing fan has to give her her due. She ran down what I thought was a very game St. Trinias today, who might be the best synthetic surface filly in the country (minus Zenyatta of course.) Zenyatta has the 2 qualities all champion racehorses have. A ton of natural ability and a big heart to match it in the stretch. Yes, she has been conservatively managed ( minus the Classic last year) but isn't that management what made it possible for performances like today. She's never going to put up huge beyer figures or win by big margins, but she will run down anything in front of her in the stretch. A great competitor and a true champion.....-GW

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Zenyatta on beating a bunch of fillies again today. Whoopee. Call me when she takes on the males again.

Figless said...

Other than Quality Road, which male are you so interested in seeing Zenyatta face?

Blame? Rail Trip? Whoop de damn do. Sure Z is quaking in her horseshoes.

She has won 17 in a row, can we please acknowledge she is a damn good filly?

Anonymous said...

"Jp- how many lengths clear of zardana was big z today ( while going 6 wide versus the number two mare in training)?"

Imbeciles like yourself think the Rachel/Zenyatta debate has some mutually exclusive result where only one can be considered great. I suspect you think the 2010 racing results indicate we should go back and play revisionist history on what took place in 2009? You West Coast freaks have this odd Rachel insecurity that makes me laugh. Don't worry -- anyone who knows anything about racing knows that Zenyatta is a once-in-a-lifetime mare, maybe the best of all time.

I don't think even the biggest Rachel fan would say she can beat Zenyatta right now. Because Rachel hasn't shown the same ability she showed in 2009 when she clearly put on the best campaign in racing.

"Horse A beat B and B beat C. so A would beat C" logic is the most overly simplistic logic imaginable btw. You obviously don't know shit about 'capping. I'm quite sure I could 'cap you under the table. As it stands now, even the most diehard Rachel fan would have to give Z the nod if the two were to meet head-to-head, but that is irrelevant to what took place in '09.

Zenyatta is the best thing in sports right now btw. She looked beat yesterday against a very good juice-trained filly who was getting 9 lbs. -jp

Anonymous said...

Sure, Quality Road, Blame, and Rail Trip. Put two of those three of those against Zenyatta in a race and I'll be interested. Beating up on her own sex for the umpteenth time is not an accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot as well. The mare has won 17 races in a row. Yesterday she got taken 11-wide by Smith and had to gun down a horse that was full of run. You have to admire her consistency and her apparent unwillingness to lose. Not to mention, the way she acts on the racetrack, she's obviously very special. Alan, please try to recruit more people who know what they are talking about, like me. Thanks, jp