Tuesday, January 25, 2011

McDonald Races Ahead

Senator Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, came out swinging during today's Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.
"Last year I was too nice," said McDonald, in a committee meeting that was supposed to revolve around the testimony of New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini.
“It cannot be tolerated again,” said McDonald, in regards to the ambiguity surrounding last year’s meet and changes to the distribution of Video Lottery Terminal money that shifted millions away from the Saratoga Springs area. “It will not be tolerated again.”
Sabini sidestepped McDonald’s host of complaints, as he subtly seemed to characterize the senator’s virulent defense of his constituency as trivial and beside the point.
“The problem with racing is that we fight over the crumbs,” said Sabini. “No one ever tries to make the pie bigger.”
The meeting then touched on the future of Off-Track Betting, the possible expansion of VLTS and how to expand interest in New York horse racing.
When the discussion seemed to stall on generating more revenue from betting, McDonald interjected that they were missing an outlet by not promoting family oriented fun. He argued that the I Love New York program should be utilized to encourage tourism spending in conjunction with racecourse activities.
All in all, though, the senator found the meeting to be very positive. “These meetings are going to be more open than they have been in the last couple years and we’re going to be driving right to the point,” said McDonald, who felt he had been too nice in defending his racing interests last year.
Now, he said, “I’m not going to be pulling any punches.”

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