27 February 2006

2 Billion To New York If They Sell

Study Reveals New York's Potential Windfall
27 February 2006

ALBANY, New York – As reported by the Albany Union-Times: "New York state could enjoy a more-than-$2 billion windfall if it sold its three thoroughbred racetracks and its interests in video lottery terminals and off-track betting to the highest bidders, according to a study set for release today.

"That estimate is far above the roughly $450 million value put on New York's gambling assets by the Friends of New York Racing, a coalition of private racing and gambling interests that has sought to advise the state on how to handle an upcoming bid for the thoroughbred track franchise.

"The new report -- from the Maryland Tax Education Foundation -- takes a different long-term view of racing in New York, suggesting that tracks and the racing industry should not get as large a cut of racino operations as FNYR proposed. It says there is no assurance the money will really help horse racing.

"…It further suggests FNYR's estimate of the economic impact of horse racing was overblown. It estimates 7,000 jobs in the state are directly or indirectly related to the industry, compared with FNYR's figure of 35,000…"

The report says VLT licenses at Belmont Park and Aqueduct are worth $1.426 billion, while OTB operations could sell for $400 million. It says that Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, and Aqueduct are worth a combined $303 million.

This $2.1 billion is about four times the amount the value of assets listed in a Friends of New York Racing report, Hooke said. He said selling the tracks, VLTs and OTB separately opens the process to a broader range of bidders, resulting in higher price tags for each component.

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