$30 M. Race-Track Bail-Out

videoslots $30 M. Race Track Bail OutSorry, this is a bit late, but we were busy gambling away our Christmas bonus on Friday afternoon.

Apparently Albany on Friday announced some $30 million in aid to the New York Racing Association, the private firm that runs the racetracks at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga on a state franchise,to keep it from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. From the AP:

The deal provides an immediate $1 million advance from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as part of a $5 million agreement to buy NYRA-owned land near its Aqueduct track in NewYork City.

The NYRA also will be given a $5 million loan through the Empire State Development Corp. and another $20 million from the Lottery Division that will be paid back after the operation of video slot machines starts at Aqueduct next fall.

See, the big plan to make New York’s racetracks profitable was to institute video slot-machines at the tracks. Go to gamble on the horses, stay to press a button that’s kind of like the arm of a one-armed Jack!

But that wasn’t going to work if NYRA went under first.

Video slot-machines are controversial in other states, like Connecticut and New Jersey, where economic development has already been tied to gambling operations. Donald Trump was no friend to the idea of video slot-machines at the Meadowlands, for instance. Not really a problem here, it seems.

- Tom McGeveran