New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation to create a reorganization board for the New York Racing Association. The legislation will place NYRA under temporary control of the state. The three-year period during which NYRA will be under review is meant to search for a new executive leader for NYRA and improve racing across the state.
“New York State’s racing industry is a major economic driver in the state, supporting thousands of jobs and attracting tourists from around the world,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York taxpayers and the betting public deserve a racing industry that is managed competently and does not neglect the health and safety of the horses. The NYRA Reorganization Board will restore public trust, accountability, and transparency to the racing industry in our state, so New York can continue to offer one of the most exciting, enjoyable, safe horse racing experiences in the nation.”
The board will be made up of publicly appointed directors with a Chair that the Governor will appoint. The board will have seventeen members; seven will be appointed by the Governor, the Senate and Assembly will each appoint two and the current NYRA board will be able to appoint five members. The current board consists of 14 directors elected by NYRA and 11 directors appointed by public officials.
NYRA is a not-for-profit organization that is charged with the operation of Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs. Senator John Bonacic, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering said the reorganization is s step in the right direction.
“NYRA needed radical change. Whether it is horses dying on the track, NYRA keeping $8.5 million from fans or the self-serving $250,000 painting, NYRA needed a complete makeover,” Bonacic said. “I have learned in four years on the Racing Committee, and two years as Chairman of the Committee, that racing is full of special interests that try and protect their own turf, while fans are left behind. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Senator Skelos for working in a bi-partisan way and providing leadership in forcing the issue.”
The Governor will announce the members of the reorganization board in the near future. Following its three-year period, the board will be turned back over to NYRA.