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VLT Rally in Albany

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – Those who earn their living at New York's Throroughbred Breeders' stables and farms rallied at the State Capitol in Albany to ask leaders to take action on Video Lottery Terminals. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports/

The outdoor gathering at West Capitol Park was held in hopes of convincing state leaders to act now on VLTs, as the Installation of 45-hundred video slot machines was approved eight years ago for Aqueduct Racetrack.

Jeff Cannizzo, executive director of the Saratoga Springs-based New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc., says money from slots is racing's "biggest ticket." Thoroughbred horse trainer H. James Bond of Stillwater has been in racing for 35 years... he warns lawmakers that New York racing is at a crossroads, and they need to act as soon as possible.

NYRA has been pressing state officials to pick a VLT operator for Aqueduct. It wants to use $25 million to $50 million in the VLT revenues to renovate Saratoga Race Course. The new racing season at Saratoga gets underway Wednesday, it's 141st Opening Day.

Saratoga is the only locality in the entire state that had all of its VLT aid eliminated in this year's budget. The cut will result in more fees, higher property taxes and further cuts to local services. A new $2.00 ticket fee for SPAC concerts is even being eyed to make-up for lost VLT revenue. Horse Breeder Tom Gallo says New York has been losing out on a million dollars a day in revenue ---everyday--- since 2001.

Governor Paterson has promised make an Aug. 1st decision.