The legislation being sought by the Regional OTBs would reduce NYRA’s revenues from the regional OTBs in excess of $11 million. When combined with the revenue reductions provided to NYCTOB pursuant to the re-organization plan, NYRA’s revenues would be reduced by more than $20 million.
“NYRA cannot sustain a revenue reduction of $20 million and continue to operate the three racetracks” said NYRA’s President and CEO Charles Hayward. “The consequence of the legislation being advocated by the Regional OTBs is that NYRA would be forced to close.”
NYRA, a member of the Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the largest creditor for NYC OTB, has supported legislation passed by the Assembly that would give NYC OTB some short-term relief in the amounts that NYC OTB is required to pay the racetracks in exchange for NYC OTB deeding its account wagering business to the tracks, which in essence would give the racetracks an opportunity to re-coup the amounts being forfeited to NYC OTB as part of its reorganization in bankruptcy.
Although the short-term concessions made by the racetracks in order to allow NYC OTB to reorganize will be painful to each racetracks’ bottom line, NYRA felt that the pain could be justified because NYC OTB is the single largest distributor of NYRA’s racing product and the largest provider of handle on NYRA races. Moreover, under the legislation NYC OTB would be required to implement a plan of reorganization that would cut its overhead and align its operating costs with its revenues, resulting in a leaner, more efficient, and hopefully profitable OTB corporation.
The provisions being sought by the Regional OTBs would compound the pain on the racing industry by allowing the Regional OTBs to reap all the benefits of the concessions the racetracks have made to NYC OTB without similarly agreeing to transfer their account wagering businesses to the racetracks or take any of the steps being required of NYC OTB to make their business operations viable.
“No Regional OTB can survive long without the NYRA product,” said Hayward. “The net result of the legislation being sought by the Regional OTBs would be the eventual closure of their own corporations, and the elimination of thoroughbred racing in New York State.”