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New NYRA 25-Year Franchise Official
The New York Racing Association's long-awaited 25-year franchise agreement "finally became official at noon on Friday" (September 12) reported thoroughbredtimes.com. The development "occurred simultaneously with NYRA's emergence from bankruptcy & withdrawal of its outstanding lawsuit against the state, which charged various officials with deliberately causing NYRA's financial problems." Under the new contract, ownership of Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park & Aqueduct transfers from NYRA to the state. NYRA retains the franchise to run racing & will lease tracks back from the state for US$1 per year. In addition "the state immediately will advance US$105 million to NYRA: US$75-million to pay off debt (such as back real estate taxes & pension fund obligations) & US$30 million for on-going operations; the state also writes off US$137.2 million in past NYRA debt." The new franchise calls for a new NYRA board that increases from 28 to 25 members: 14 of NYRA's choosing & 11 political appointees. Within the next few weeks "the state is expected to name a gaming operator for Aqueduct's proposed racino."