While the New York Gaming Association ("NYGA") and member tracks have met and spoken with representatives of harness racing's Standardbred Owners Association ("SOA") to explain our proposal for live table games in New York, we are uncertain that our position is understood.
Recent published reports indicate that the SOA is deeply concerned that racetrack casinos operators intend to, "...no longer make contributions to the horse racing industry." Nothing could be further from the truth. Consequently, I am writing this memorandum to the SOA Board and its general membership to correct this misconception.
NYGA's draft language to amend the New York State Constitution would allow for live table games and other electronic games within the current New York State Lottery exemption. Importantly, our proposal will keep the current casino revenue payment structure to horsemen and breeders intact. Table games do not detract from machine drop but are in fact accretive. A financial analysis on enhanced gaming demonstrates the addition of live table games in New York would increase machine drop around $230 million, thereby increasing purse and breeding support by an additional $23 million.
This same structure has already produced approximately $600 million to horsemen, purses, breeders, and New York's agribusiness; revenues of over $3.4 billion to education and other state aid; and nearly $146 million to local governments throughout New York.
NYGA has proposed that any enhancement of casino gaming should be done in a limited and socially responsible manner at the existing nine current harness and thoroughbred racetrack casinos. Our plan will create over 25,000 much needed jobs, initiate billions of private sector investment, generate hundreds of millions in new revenue, and continue to benefit New York's racing industry.
Our proposal will keep New York competitive in the surrounding market place, which is even more of a challenge with Massachusetts' recent approval of casino gaming. New York needs to allow its nine licensed racetrack casinos to enhance their gaming product to allow live table games. An estimated 3-5 billion gaming dollars leave New York for other gaming jurisdictions each year.
The New York Gaming Association believes our interests are aligned with the goals of the SOA. We invite you, and all New York State racing interests, to join our organization. We can work together to move legalization forward in a way that creates jobs, increases revenues and private investment, all the while preserving our vital contributions to the New York's racing industry.
By Michael WILTON, Executive Director New York Gaming Association