Horse Racing

New York studies the impact of VLT on racing, livestock

The New York State Gaming Commission is proposing to conduct the state’s first major review of its nearly 20-year-old video lottery terminal betting program to determine the financial and economic impact on the industry. horse racing and breeding.

The plan is among tens of thousands of line item allocations presented to state legislators by Governor Kathy Hochul this week in his $227 billion 2023-2024 state budget proposal. Teacher.

The budget portion of the gambling commission agency’s financial allocation in the spending plan succinctly states that the Hochul administration is looking to spend $1 million on an “independent racing study.”

Hochul’s budget documents give no details beyond that mention, but officials say the agency is looking for a way for an academic institution to conduct a review of an industry that has brought in billions of dollars for The state since opening in the years after the VLT bet was approved was followed by a frenzied revenue-raising effort shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Today, there are nearly 17,000 VLT devices, which look like slot machines and are operated off-site of the state’s Central Lottery Division—at 10 locations, including Aqueduct race track and Finger Lakes Racecourseas well as six harness lines.

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Over the years, there have been industry-sponsored reviews or studies by game consulting firms regarding projections of the financial impact of the VLT program on racetracks and livestock funds, with Many industry executives claim that VLT revenue is a lifeline for most racetracks, the racehorse sector, and the state budget. What officials predicted a generation ago was not fully realized: that VLT salons would spur major economic development in the state’s struggling suburbs.

Officials purse the proposed study, which will take place at some point next year if the Legislature, as expected, approves the idea of ​​a one-time spending, to review federal government behavior. concerned with whether state-provided economic development incentives actually create the number and type of jobs. and other activities as envisioned by public expenditures.

Games Commission officials say using an academic institution instead of outside consultants paid for by the private party would help a neutral party study VLT’s impact on the sector racing and breeding. The agency will not select a university or college or some such academic institution to conduct research until lawmakers approve the proposal. The total state budget is due on March 31.

The Hochul Budget, as The BloodHorse reported earlier this week, has a major racing industry-related claim to the Legislature in 2023: the power to lend the state $455 million on behalf of the Association. Racing New York to fund total reconstruction Belmont Park, which, when completed, will result in the closure of the Aqueduct, the termination of the NYRA’s lease on that property — state-owned, as is Belmont — and lead to certain types of future uses Unknown. (NYRA, under Hochul’s plan, would fund a rare state loan program for a private institution.)

The Hochul Budget also rejects the state’s long-standing mobile sportsbook operators’ plan to reduce the state’s 51 percent tax on total gaming revenue. Executives this week said the program’s growth is unsustainable at the record-setting levels seen over the past year; but Hochul budget revenue outlook documents state that mobile sports betting tax revenue “is expected to increase slightly as growth is expected as the market matures.” The state collected more than $900 million in revenue from mobile sportsbook operators during the program’s first year, which began in early January 2022. The budget notes that the tax revenue of the The state’s relatively small interactive virtual sports industry will decline slightly for the state’s current five fiscal years, ending March 31, “due to the negative impact of mobile sports betting.” move.”

The budget also calls for a continuation of $100,000 in state funds for the Racing Fan Advisory Council, which is part of the game committee’s budget. The financial plan also continues, unchanged, at the current parity tax rate and simulated terms for another year.


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