New York Governor Andrew Cuomo struck a deal with the New York Racing Association, which runs the state’s three biggest horse-racing tracks, to put the nonprofit corporation under temporary public control.
The agreement reached today gives the governor the authority to nominate a chairman and reduces NYRA’s governing board to 17 from 25, giving the majority of appointments to public officials, Cuomo said. After three years, the board will revert back to private control.
“There have been a series of episodes that have shaken the public trust and this is meant to restore the public trust,” Cuomo said today at a press conference in Albany, the capital. “We know long-term this is not a venture for public government to run.”
The Cuomo administration is investigating the racing association after a report by the Racing and Wagering Board found $8.5 million in winnings didn’t go to bettors because management miscalculated the payouts over a 15-month period.
Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat, said reorganizing the board also might help better develop the horse-racing industry, which brings $2.4 billion each year to the state. Previously, the board was mostly picked by NYRA, which operates the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga tracks.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, have both agreed to the changes and said their houses will approve a bill that’s forthcoming.
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