Monday, May 21, 2012

5/21/12 Daily Clips from NY Gaming Association

New York State
1)      They’re off! Pols push sports bets - New York Post

“Place your bets here!

A Queens lawmaker wants to legalize betting on professional sports in New York — and his proposed legislation has the backing of one of the state’s top prosecutors, Brooklyn DA Charles “Joe” Hynes, The Post has learned.

State Sen. Tony Avella’s bill would allow betting on baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer at the Aqueduct and Yonkers racinos and all casinos across the state, as well as off-track betting parlors outside the city.

Currently, only betting on horse racing is legal.

Such legalized betting in the sports-crazed Big Apple could become a cash cow for the state, where fans passionately follow — and often illegally bet on — the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets Knicks and Rangers.

Citing a study conducted by the New York City Partnership five years ago, Democrat Avella said betting on pro sports would generate more than $2 billion.

He said the state’s cut from the racino sports book would go to fund schools.

“We have to think out of the box. I’d rather come up with revenue this way rather than raising property taxes,” said Avella.

He claimed said studies show illegal sports betting generates more than $100 billion nationally and as much as $15 billion to $30 billion in New York City alone — much of it feeding organized crime.

And that’s why Hynes is supporting the measure. He said sports betting should be regulated by the government and benefit the public, not crooks.

“Right now, sports betting is a cash cow for the mob,” said Hynes. “I’ve been in favor of legalized sports betting. It has always made sense to me.”

Hynes feels so strongly about authorizing sports betting that he will write letters to urge Gov. Cuomo and the state District Attorneys Association to back the legislation.

“It would be a huge win for the state of New York,” he said.”

2)     NYRA told to come up with reform plan ASAP - Times Union

“For the second time this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presided over a face-to-face meeting with trustees of the New York Racing Association, and this time his brow was full of creases, according to people close to those in the room.

In the first meeting two weeks ago, Cuomo stated his position indirectly but diplomatically to a dozen NYRA trustees in Albany. He told them things must change.

But last Friday in Manhattan, with the NYRA board's executive committee, the governor was more like a prosecutor. He bluntly stated that things will change.

The stronger message comes after the governor took exception to the board appointing a new president and general counsel when he would have preferred interim leaders while two state investigations of NYRA play out. The probes are covering the circumstances of a 15-month period of overcharging bettors leading to $8.5 million in unlawful commissions. NYRA's new president, Ellen McClain, was on duty as a top financial and compliance administrator during those 15 months.

Governors don't normally sit down with NYRA trustees for private meetings — so secretive that Cuomo's aides refuse to even acknowledge the sessions are scheduled, one even pleading ignorance when 12 NYRA trustees were converging on the Capitol.”

3)     NYRA wins at Preakness - Times Union

“The biggest winner of Saturday's Preakness Stakes was the New York Racing Association. That's because I'll Have Another, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, is coming to town.

For the next three weeks, I'll Have Another is going to be a bigger Big Apple sports name than Derek Jeter or Henrik Lundqvist.

Horse racing hasn't seen a Triple Crown winner since 1978, and here comes I'll Have Another, on the cusp of thoroughbred immortality.

The New York Racing Association, which has been battered, beaten and humiliated over the last two weeks, finally got a break.

On June 9, there will be life at Belmont, a place that has had little cheer.

On May 4, the takeout scandal cost Charles Hayward, NYRA's president and CEO, his job. Patrick Kehoe, the organization's chief counsel, also got the heave-ho.

A week later, it was announced that Ellen McClain would be the organization's new president, but she was the chief finance officer for the majority of the takeout scandal.

The New York State Inspector General is conducting an ongoing investigation.

NYRA has lost the trust of many a horseplayer. Just over six months ago, the future was bright for New York racing when the casino at Aqueduct opened and purses soared. Now the scandal.”

4)     SARDELLA: Ray Sharpe continues success in Saratoga - The Saratogian

“Ray Sharpe is a relatively new name to fans of Saratoga Casino and Raceway but it’s a name you should get used to hearing. Sharpe first started training horses back in 2004 but it wasn’t until the last few years that he has been doing so on a full-time basis.

In 2009, the conditioner had his best season according to purse money earned as he tallied more than $115,000 with his trainees in just 63 starts. Training in New Jersey and racing almost exclusively at Freehold Raceway and the Meadowlands, Sharpe had nine wins and nine seconds en route to the six-digit season. After only starting 36 horses in 2010, Sharpe started to go at it full time in the ’11 season and began competing at Saratoga in nearly all of his races.

The Ray Sharpe Stable had a breakout year in 2011, doing it almost solely at the Spa. In 104 total races, Sharpe recorded 14 wins and hit the board 46 times, amassing just shy of $100,000 in earnings and finishing with a training average of .274.

Sharpe had enough success to not only race at Saratoga full time but also to move here. The conditioner now calls Saratoga Springs home and has certainly found a home for himself at the raceway. In last week’s action, Sharpe had his best stretch since coming to town last year. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Sharpe started horses in three races and he swept them.”

5)     I'll Have Another Arrives in NY One Win Away - Blood Horse

“Trainer Doug O'Neill has full confidence in the potential for I'll Have Another to handle the grueling 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after the colt captured the first two jewels of America's Triple Crown.

“He’s got the mind,” O’Neill said at Pimlico Race Course the morning after I'll Have Another nipped Bodemeister by a neck in a thrilling renewal of the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). “You’ve seen the way he’s handled the attention in Kentucky and here in Baltimore. He’s got a great confidence about him and he’s got the stride of a horse that a mile and a half won’t be a problem. He’s got the pedigree; so much stamina on the female side."

Meanwhile, after a second agonizing loss to I’ll Have Another in the Preakness, trainer Bob Baffert said Bodemeister will remain in training but skip the Belmont.

“I’ve had enough,” Baffert quipped.

Reddam Racing's I'll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) by 1 1/2 lengths two weeks before the Preakness, was loaded onto a van the morning of May 20 to begin his journey to Belmont Park and a date with racing history.

He arrived at Barn 9 at Belmont Park following the ride at 2:53 p.m. EDT.

“We got kind of held up for about an hour and a half,” said Jack Sisterson, assistant to O’Neill. “I have no idea where we were, but besides that the horse was happy. He was just looking out the window the whole time. He and Lava Man were together, they were just chatting away the whole time. We were at Pimlico almost two weeks and we shipped in a week before at Churchill, and now we’re here for the three weeks. So far, so good.

"It’s kind of working out for us, so we’re not going to change that. I think the sooner he gets over the track and gets familiar with the surroundings. We’ll walk him tomorrow and then take it from there. One day at a time.”

After winning the Preakness in front of a record crowd of 121,309, the chestnut son of Flower Alley is the first since Big Brown   in 2008 to win the first two legs of the series. He will try to become the 12th horse to capture American racing’s most treasured prize – and the first since Affirmed in 1978 – in the Belmont June 9.”

6)     Exhibitors fight Javits teardown - Crain's New York

“A powerful group of businesses in the trade-show industry has coalesced to fight Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to tear down the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to ensure they have a voice in the final decision.

After nearly six months of intense meetings and conference calls, senior executives of companies that produce the vast majority of the shows at the Javits Center took a bold public stand, sending a letter to the governor late last month stating their opposition to the demolition of the Far West Side facility. The letter was also distributed to some 600 officials, including state and city legislators.

The executives insist they will not patronize the much larger venue in Ozone Park, Queens, at the Aqueduct raceway that is to be built by the casino operator Genting Americas. They prefer a proposed, but troubled, development plan at Willets Point near Citi Field, which is closer to Manhattan. "Javits customers are adamant that the Javits Center remain open long term," their letter stated.

Calling themselves Friends of Javits, the group is composed of 21 of the largest trade-show companies in the business—which produce such events as the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show and the New York International Gift Fair—as well as organizations such as the Toy Industry Association and the National Retail Federation, which also produce big events at Javits.

A seat at the negotiating table

The governor's dramatic announcement in January of a Javits replacement in Ozone Park surprised the executives, but they are determined to get a seat at the negotiating table now.

"We wanted to let the governor know that there is a strong base of support [for keeping the facility] and to ask him to reconsider tearing it down," said Britton Jones, chief executive of Business Journals Inc., which produces 17 events at Javits a year, including the Accessories and Moda Manhattan shows.

Without the trade-show industry's support, the proposed 3.8 million-square-foot convention center at Aqueduct—the largest in the country—would be tough to fill.

"This is a real strong message by the industry, which is saying, 'Just because you build it, it doesn't mean we'll come,' " said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which produces the annual New York International Auto Show at Javits.

The auto show's name does not appear on the letter because Mr. Schienberg is willing to move his weeklong event to Aqueduct, although he supports the industry's position on Javits. "They can easily pull their shows from New York City," he explained. "I can't."

The New York Hotel Association also recently sent a position paper to its members expressing its support for the Javits Center to remain open.”

Other Articles of Interest

1)     Compulsive gambler bans himself from Ohio casino - Lancaster Eagle Gazette

Ohio's casino commission has set up a way to help problem gamblers from giving into temptation and going into the state's casinos.

Compulsive gamblers or anyone else can ask the commission to ban themselves from any of the four casinos opening in the state.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the new state program makes it a crime for those on the list to enter.

People can ask to be banned for a year, five years or life.

So far, one northeast Ohio man is on the list and 10 others are awaiting approval. The casino commission thinks between 5,000 and 10,000 people will participate.

Ohio's program is similar to those in 15 others states.

2)     When is so much gambling too much? -

“It's getting tougher to do business in the Northeast casino market. That's the conclusion of many of those who study such trends. Given the explosion in the number of gambling venues in recent years and the finite number of gamblers, it's hardly surprising that "oversaturation" is having a big impact on a domestic gaming industry that not too long ago was confined (legally, anyway) to the Nevada desert.

But casino gambling came to Atlantic City in the late 1970s, and now every state from West Virginia to Maine has some combination of commercial casinos, Native American-run casinos and lotteries. Massachusetts has all three, and New York might have a casino in Manhattan within five years. Parimutuel wagering, horse racing and lotteries are also popular. Taken together, and counting gambling destinations in other parts of the country — including storied Las Vegas — "oversaturation" pretty much describes what's going on in the gambling business.

And a lot of casinos are hurting as a result.

That the politicians in various states who have been selling gambling as a cure for their states' financial woes don't recognize the worrisome trend may be surprising or not, depending on one's views of politicians generally. David Cordish, whose company is opening yet another huge new casino in Maryland next month, says politicians don't understand oversaturation and "think you can have casinos like Starbucks" — on every corner.

Atlantic City is proof positive that such an attitude is just plain wrong. Though New Jersey gaming officials say gross profits are up significantly over the last two quarters, the more than a dozen casinos there have been enduring a five-year slump that has seen a lot of the resort town's former gambling patrons being siphoned off by newer casinos in Pennsylvania. The glitter of the Atlantic City gaming experience faded a while ago. Some of the casinos are showing their age, and from anecdotal accounts, we hear customer service happens more by accident than by design. A new casino, Revel, is being counted on to reverse Atlantic City's fortunes, but some experts at this year's East Coast Gaming Congress said what the town really needs is fewer casinos, not more.”

3)     Jimmy Buffett talks about his new Mississippi casino - USA Today

“Jimmy Buffett the businessman is expanding his empire.

The poster child for the laid-back lifestyle got his first paid performing job in Biloxi, Miss., and opens a Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant there Tuesday. It joins a chain of restaurants and bars, a hotel in Pensacola, Fla., online game, clothing line, casino at the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas and other ventures. Another casino in Bossier City, La., is in the cards for next year.

Jimmy Buffett appears before the Mississippi Gaming Commission Thursday as the final step toward opening a Margaritaville Casino and Resort in Biloxi, Miss.  Buffett, 65, never intended to be a corporate king. But he has negotiated the shark-infested waters of the music business and tries new ventures because "it's kind of fun," he drawls.

The Pascagoula, Miss., native says of the Biloxi casino, where a hotel also is planned: "I didn't know if I wanted to do it, but then the storm (Katrina) came along. I was contacted by (former Mississippi Gov.) Haley Barbour, who said, 'We need to get back.' " Buffett and a partnerbuilt the casino, adding 1,000 jobs to the local economy.”