What Will NYRA Buy with the VLT Money?

On the morning of the Gotham Stakes I attended a meeting of the Racing Fan Advisory Council at Aqueduct. On the third floor of the Resorts World Casino, the Council was joined by most of the NYRA executives, members of the media, and some racing fans.  The third floor of the racino is a vast finished space that has yet to be occupied by VLTs.  The approximately 50 attendees of the meeting were the only occupants of what was once the third floor of the Aqueduct grandstand.
The meeting began with presentations by NYRA CEO Charlie Hayward and NYRA COO Ellen McClain. They reported that currently Resorts World Casino has 5,000 VLTs operating at an average win rate of $342 per day for each machine.  NYRA will receive $27 million each year for capital improvements.  Some of the money will be used to remedy what Hayward called “the stark contrast” between the Casino and the racetrack. Here are some of the major improvements coming to the NYRA tracks in the near future.
•At Aqueduct there will be 165 new flat screen televisions and new carrels and chairs.
•At Aqueduct planned is a new 20,000 square foot venue called LONGSHOTS that is for “frequent and serious bettors”.
•At Aqueduct all of the track will have wireless internet access by the fall/winter meeting.  The Equestris restaurant already provides wireless.
•At Belmont there will be wireless in the areas in the back, including the paddock for the fall championship meeting.
•At Saratoga there will also be wireless in the backyard areas for this summer’s meeting.
•At Saratoga a viewing stand will be built at the Oklahoma training track by East Avenue near the Fasig-Tipton sale pavilion. The stands, to be finished for the 2013 racing season, will include restrooms and some light breakfast sales of coffee and donuts.
•RaceQuest is a new NYRA sponsored online initiative designed to make horse racing easier to understand for beginners. Check it out at RaceQuest.
It was also interesting to hear that since the Casino was built, basically leaving only what was once the clubhouse area, that the racetrack now has a capacity of just 10,000.
In an effort to try and get more two year-old starters NYRA and the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association have created a $100,000 bonus for any Belmont spring juvenile starter that goes on to a graded stakes race.
In addition there were discussions about an “I Love New York Racing” public relations campaign that is in planning. Overall NYRA seems to be ready to make investments in the racetracks that will make our experience more enjoyable.


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Older Comments about What Will NYRA Buy with the VLT Money?...

I kind of like what I hear.... I especially like the "I Love New York Racing"... we will see what comes of this!
If the story follows the national script, the money will buoy up the purse strcuture for a few years and then the MBA's at the helm will all ask: Why do we need racing here? and try to close it down....
The question that came up about wireless at the track is: Put it in to foster online betting or as an attraction to the younger crowd?
I've never been to AQU, but I hear all the improvments are needed & I hope they get done before the greedy politicians get their hands on all the money. Also, how do all racetracks not have wireless internet throughout their facilities by now? I think its embarrassing, doesn't cost too much money, get into the 21st century!

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