Cuomo, Legislature Can’t Come Together On NYRA Re-Privatization; Talks May Be Deferred

by | 03.28.2017 | 5:40pm

For the past five years, the New York Racing Association has been under control of a board of directors dominated by the selections of Governor Andrew Cuomo. In order to return NYRA to private control, Cuomo and the New York legislature are attempting to hammer out details like the composition of a new board and the continuation of state-funded drug testing. According to, lawmakers are considering taking the talks out of the state budget, due on March 31, and deferring them until the end of session in June.

Currently, Cuomo is supporting a plan which would allow him significant influence over a new NYRA board of directors, to take away the Aqueduct video lottery terminal revenues from the racing industry, a more powerful Franchise Oversight Board, and to end state funding of drug testing (about $4.5 million).

Cuomo's plan for the board would allow him six appointees (both the Assembly and Senate leaders would select one member apiece, leaving Cuomo with four appointees). Eight additional seats would be filled by the current eight NYRA board members, and a 15th member would be the NYRA president. Both the New York Breeders Inc. and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association would be allowed one board member apiece, but that individual would have no voting rights.

In the spirit of compromise, lawmakers have considered giving the NYB and NYTHA just one seat between the two organizations, but talks remain stalled.


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