“I’m not a horse racing fan” – Another Reason to Dislike Cuomo

Cuomo explains his Saratoga absence

ALBANY — There appears to be a simple answer behind Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s absence from the Saratoga Race Course: He would rather spend his time elsewhere.

Asked Monday morning about the Times Union’s story last week detailing his decision not to visit the “summer place to be,” the governor stressed his support for the New York Racing Association, which operates racing at Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack …

But as to a possible visit, he said, “I’m not a horse racing fan, per se.”

On opening day at the track last week, Cuomo was participating in the 2019 Catskill Challenge Motorcycle Ride.

NY OTBs could shed horse racing operations

Off-Track Betting agencies in Nassau and Suffolk counties and across New York could shed their horse racing operations – their main function for nearly 50 years, but also a source of deficits in recent years – under proposals unveiled by the POS Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week.

OTBs would have greater flexibility to operate under Cuomo’s proposed 2019-2020 budget, as they contend with declining racing revenues. The budget proposal would allow OTBs to decide to get out of horse betting entirely or merge with other OTBs, officials said.

OTB officials and experts say Cuomo’s proposal, which must be approved by the state Legislature, may make it possible for betting agencies to pursue bigger moneymakers, such as video lottery terminals and, perhaps eventually, sports betting.

But at this point Cuomo’s proposals are general, and do not set guidelines for what the changes would look like.

“The whole industry is on the phone, trying to figure out what does this mean,” said Phil Nolan, director of Suffolk Off Track Betting.

OTBs were established in six locations in the 1970s to pass along profits from horse betting to local governments and to reduce illegal gambling. In Nassau and Suffolk, the OTBs have significant numbers of patronage employees.

OTBs simulcast races, take telephone and internet bets and operate automated betting machines. In Batavia in Genesee County, Western OTB manages a racetrack at Batavia Downs.

But the OTBs have struggled in recent years as horse racing has declined in popularity and competition has grown from casinos in other states, officials said…