Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2008

Tedisco Outlines Parameters Of Tentative NYRA Agreement

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) today outlined the parameters of an expected agreement reached on the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

The tentative agreement is anticipated to receive legislative approval later this afternoon, just hours shy of the second deadline looming for NYRA's expiration. The first deadline was missed when all parties failed to approve a deal re-authorizing NYRA by December 31, 2007.

Provisions of the NYRA agreement include the following:

  • Authorizes a not-for-profit corporation, known as New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) to conduct racing at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks for 25 years;

  • Clarifies that the State owns all the land underlying the Racetracks; all improvements thereon and all physical assets thereon and that all assets associated with the franchise and the operation of the Racetracks, including, without limitation, all rights to intellectual property and simulcasting;

  • Reconstitutes the NYRA Board of Directors to include a total of 25 members of which 14 would be appointed by NYRA; seven appointed by the Governor; two by the Senate and two by the Assembly. Of the Governor's appointees one would be made upon the recommendation by the horsemen, one upon the recommendation by the breeders, one upon the recommendation by the AFL-CIO and one would be a representative of OTBs;

  • Creates a Franchise Oversight Board (FOB) made up of five members: three by the Governor and one each by the Senate and the Assembly. The FOB would have the following goals: ensure quality racing and growth of the industry, raise revenue for education and ensure integrity and public confidence in the actions of NYRA;

  • Provides that the FOB functions would include but not be limited to: monitoring NYRA's compliance with the terms of the franchise agreement; recommending to the Racing and Wagering Board to terminate NYRA's franchise upon NYRA's failure to comply with performance standards; holding title to the tracks and any improvements thereon; and representing the State's interest in the VLT facility at Aqueduct and real estate development at Belmont;

  • Authorizes the FOB to create local advisory boards for each track to allow for the opportunity to offer input on any development plans advanced by NYRA or the Oversight Board;

  • Requires NYRA's franchise agreement to contain performance standards, to be reviewed by the FOB every four years, related to racing dates; NY bred races; stall maintenance; jockey and equine safety; CAFO; backstretch operations; and the Saratoga training track; and

  • Provides a statutory percentage payment to horsemen and breeders at NYRA tracks and harness tracks; increased payments to VLT vendors at all tracks with VLT facilities; increased marketing allowances to VLT operators; and capital expenditure allowances for approved capital expense plans.

"I am pleased that after a year and a few months, we have finally reached what I and others believe is an agreement on NYRA. It is good news for local taxpayers, the horsemen, the breeders, racing enthusiasts and for the future of racing in New York State," Tedisco stated.

"Especially important is that this agreement reflects fundamental core values, including protecting Saratoga taxpayers and the integrity of our local racing product, along with preserving the cultural and historical character of our racetrack," concluded Tedisco.

New York State Assembly
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