Today’s Saratogian has a wonderful article about the flaws in the process for awarding a video lottery terminal (VLT) p;rovider for Aqueduct Race Track.
It continues to look less likely that New York will have a VLT operator anytime soon. This is problematic because the New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has done an audit this week indicating that the New York Racing Association will face financial ruin in the next 12 months if a VLT operator is not in place.
While I would like to believe horse racing can attract and generate a new fan base the industry has shown that does not seem possible. As a result the industry has looked towards VLTs as a way to generate revenue both for the track operator and the State. New York State and NYRA both stand to benefit from this process. The bid process calls for an immediate payment of at least $300 million dollars to New York State. Additionally NYRA is supposed to receive a $20 million payment at the inception which would help NYRA stave off financial insolvency.
There is no optimism at this point regarding a VLT contract. I believe that either Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) who has already filed a suit after having the VLT award revoked or SL Green who recently was denied the VLT contract will tie this process up with litigation beyond the point when NYRA can financially survive. I only hope as an owner and fan that I am wrong.