Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from Joe Faraldo, the president of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York.
Yonkers, NY — The SOA of NY has made every effort to insure a continuity of personal aid and racing from the time of the shutdown of racing at Yonkers, through the resumption of racing in June and after the recent grant of authority to open the racino. The cost to the SOA of NY for aid and for supplementation of the purse account to keep racing going while the racino was closed was in the neighborhood of $1.4 million.
With the advent of the reopening of the Racino at Yonkers, on-site play on the VLT machines has resumed. That raises the question as to why, if the Casino can operate at 25 percent capacity, with attendees, does not the on-site simulcasting and on-track wagering by fans get the same consideration?
The SOA of NY is petitioning for such approval of simulcasting and on-track wagering from leading racing legislators and from the executive branch of state government. We are hereby requesting that MGM Resorts-Yonkers join in that request and that it bring back many of the key personnel necessary to secure the return of on-site wagering. Of course, much of the wagering is on self-serve betting machines, not very dissimilar from the VLTs.
MGM Resorts does an admirable job with its racino protocols, and there seems to be no reason why those efforts cannot be duplicated consistent with MGM’s responsibilities as a NYS licensee, holding a racing and simulcasting license along with its racino license.
The additional revenue from on-track wagering certainly would not hurt the purse account or the NYS Agriculture and Horse Breeding Development Fund (NYSS) which has been negatively impacted by the pandemic as has all of racing and agriculture in NYS. We have endured quite a hit that can negatively impact our industry and its economic multiplier effect to NYS.
Racing, as you know, has struggled with no racing, lower revenues that fuel the agricultural industry in NYS, less racing opportunities and finally no fans on-site.
The SOA Board of Directors continues to strive towards a return to normalcy. Our cooperative efforts with MGM Resorts has now seen the return of live racing next week on a five day per week schedule with still reduced purses and nine races per card. It is anticipated that we will see that number of races per day slowly increase and the purses themselves begin to slowly crawl their way higher in the near future. Those achievements will only be possible through a careful analysis of the economic trends that we hope — and are optimistic — will continue on the rise.
I and the SOA of NY Board of Directors wish to thank our members for the confidence shown in our judgments so far, as well as your support and cooperation in those efforts.