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Friday, June 13, 2008


In a press conference this afternoon, NY Governor David A. Paterson announced an agreement regarding the future of off-track betting in New York City. The agreement, reached by the Executive and legislative leaders, calls for a state takeover of the New York City OTB through the creation of legislation to create a new State public benefit corporation – the Empire State Off-Track Betting Corporation. Governor Paterson also today announced his intention to nominate State Senator John Sabini to the Racing and Wagering Board and to designate him as Chair of that board. The appointment requires Senate confirmation and upon confirmation Senator Sabini would step down from his seat. Daniel Hogan is the current RWB chair.

The State will try and substantially improve the profitability of OTB including eliminating numerous duplicative functions between the NYCOTB, NYRA and the other five branches around the state. A relocation of headquarters from Times Square to Aqueduct will reportedly save $5M in annual rent. The agreement also preserved 1,500 jobs that Mayor Bloomberg who was planning on shutting down the parlors if no deal was made.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said:

"We are pleased to have played a key role in partnering with Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg and the Assembly to craft a solution that keeps New York City OTB open and viable, and protects the jobs and quality-of-life of 1,500 employees and their families. NYC OTB is an important revenue generator for the State and the racing industry, and today's agreement is a victory for all parties involved."

The RWB job for Sabini appears to be a soft landing, as he faced a potential difficult primary against Hiram Monserrate in the 14th Senate District. He is currently the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Racing and Wagering Committee. The Queens County Democrat now doesn't have to suffer through a primary he stood a good chance of losing. As chair of the Racing and Wagering Board, he will receive a salary of $120,800 per annum for a six year term.

In more somber news, native Buffalonian (and huge Bills fan) Tim Russert passed away today at the age of 58. Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s “Meet the Press” broadcast when he collapsed. It is ironic that he died on Father's Day weekend, he wrote a book about his Western New York childhood and tremendous relationship with his father entitled "Big Russ and Me." He will be missed.



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