N.Y. lawmakers support Andrew Cuomo's NYRA takeover

Jun 18, 2012 5:35 PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to take over the operation of the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has received the endorsement of some of the state’s major legislative leaders.

This past weekend, the New York State Racing Franchise Accountability and Transparency Act of 2012 was introduced at the request of Gov. Cuomo by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Racing Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow.

Simply, the legislation grants the power to name a majority of a 17-member NYRA governing board to the chief executive.

The new board will be empowered to run the three major racetracks – Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga – for three years at which time a new governing group will take over. That is, of course, as long as the lawmakers don’t extend the new board’s existence beyond the three years.

Cuomo ordered the governing change following the news that under the previous board of directors NYRA’s management failed to implement a tax cut on wagers that cost gamblers some $8 million.

Observers also noted the NYRA managing change probably will make it easier for the state to eventually pass laws that would permit the licensing of non-tribal casinos.

Earlier it was felt Genting’s development of a convention center at the Aqueduct racino might also include expanding that facility into a casino. However, recent negotiations between Genting and Gov. Cuomo failed to materialize into an agreement.