Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,I,C-Schenectady/Saratoga) today renewed his call for Governor Paterson to choose an operator for Aqueduct Race Track. In a letter to the governor, Tedisco said the Saratoga Race Course was in jeopardy of not opening due to the state’s failure to select a vendor. Tedisco pointed out the significant and immediate impact such a contract would have.
“The governor must avoid further delay and do his part to help the Capital District and state economy by selecting an eligible vendor as soon as possible,” said Tedisco. “Each day that we delay we are costing the state millions of dollars in revenue at a time when our state’s budget and citizens can least afford it. And here in the Capital District, we are depriving Saratoga Race Course of the resources they could most certainly use.”
In 2001, the state agreed to authorize 4,500 video lottery terminals (VLTs) at Aqueduct. However, several firms are still bidding for the contract that would allow them to install the machines and operate the facility. Revenue forecasts anticipate the state gaining an immediate $200-$250 million from the contract. Once running, the VLTs are expected to generate approximately $1 million per day and preserve the state’s estimated 35,000 racing-related jobs. The governor’s selection of Aqueduct Entertainment Group last month was dropped amid ethics concerns.
“With the state confronting a $9.2 billion budget deficit and near 10 percent unemployment, you would think our leaders would be doing everything in their power to generate revenue and improve the economy. Instead, they’re pushing for higher taxes and deficit borrowing. If they’re going on a vacation, they should use the time to select a vendor,” said Tedisco. “Here in Saratoga, horsemen, breeders, and local businesses all depend on the state selecting a vendor. The industry itself is dependent on it. The guaranteed revenue will help support the capital improvements needed to maintain this historic venue and will allow the Saratoga Race Course to continue to attract tourists, the best racers, and distinguished horses from around the world.”