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NY Racing Association Takes the Money and Runs

Despite its big races and huge attractions within the last weeks of thoroughbred racing’s season, the New York Racing Association, a not-for-profit corporation which controls and manages the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga race tracks, has recently accepted a $25 million loan from New York state lawmakers. It was the last resort to keep the association alive amidst the industry’s dip towards doom.

The New York Racing Association, while maintaining the state’s largest thoroughbred racing tracks, was near shutdown; warning all of its employees operations may halt by June 9th. With the approved loan in effect and the hope of carrying on with business as usual for at least another year, the big Belmont Stakes races are on for June 5th. The NYRA presently manages year-round racing—250 racing days.

In 2001, 4,500 video lottery game machines were approved by New York. It has been estimated the use of these machines, throughout the New York race tracks could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, for both the state and the horse racing industry. Oddly, Governor Paterson and legislature, did not grant approval for a group to operate the machines at the Aqueduct.

OTB, or The New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, is over $17 million in debt to the New York Racing Association and continues to lose money, despite being controlled by the state and bankrupt. The corporation became state controlled two years ago and filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy just last year. OTB, while functioning, took in an estimated $1 billion, on a yearly basis. Now, it loses nearly $600,000-$800,000 per month.

The six New York off-track betting entities generate roughly $2 billion, annually.