Governor Eliot Spitzer announced today his recommendation that the New York Racing Association (NYRA) be awarded the state's racing franchise to operate Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.
He also announced his recommendation that a separate franchise be awarded to an experienced gaming operator to operate as many as 4,500 video lottery terminals (VLT) at Aqueduct. The recommendation of a VLT operator will be made within approximately 60 days.
Thoroughbred racing is a vital state industry, providing tens of thousands of jobs to breeders, horsemen and workers who are directly employed at New York's three thoroughbred tracks, said Governor Spitzer.
"Following my investigations a few years ago, a new leadership team at NYRA has turned the organization around to the point where it is demonstrating real results and true transparency. The strong performance of racing this season is a testament to how far NYRA has come in the last few years and this agreement ensures that racing in New York State will be operated by experienced management."
The recommendation to award two separate franchises " one for racing and one for the gaming operation " follows an extensive review of proposals to hold the racing franchise at the three state-owned racing facilities and to establish VLT facilities. The new franchises " for racing and the VLT operation at Aqueduct " are scheduled to begin Jan. 1.""