NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. recently joined with his Senate colleagues to approve legislation (S.5476) he sponsors to make the New York State Racing Fan Advisory Council a permanent part of the New York State Gaming Commission.
“In 2011, a temporary Racing Fan Advisory Council was created to advise the state on how to improve and expand its racing industry, with a particular eye on attracting more people to the sport and celebrating its history,” said Addabbo, who chairs the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering. “The panel, which has been informally renewed since then by resolution, has produced reports and recommendations on how to improve the racing fan experience, and this input has been considered valuable. As we move forward with racing and pari-mutuel wagering in our state, a permanent council may help lead the way in promoting this important segment of New York’s economy.”
Addabbo, whose Senate district includes Aqueduct Raceway, noted that New York’s equine industry has an estimated $4.2 billion impact on the state’s economy, and generates 33,000 full-time jobs. In addition to racing revenues, the economic impact includes state and local taxes generated by the industry, and the preservation of 1.3 million acres of open space by horse farms, training centers and riding stables.
“Aqueduct Raceway and Resorts World Casino NYC have had a very positive impact on our local economy, tourism, the hospitality industry, and job opportunities for my constituents,” said Addabbo. “The Racing Fan Advisory Council, which will provide an annual report, should be very valuable in helping all of New York’s thoroughbred and harness racing tracks, as well as our off-track-betting venues, to prosper in the years to come.”
The permanent Council would include five members, none of whom could be employed by the NYS Gaming Commission; lobby on behalf of tracks, OTBs and horsemen’s associations, or be officers of any of these groups. The members would serve for five years, and the Senate and Assembly Racing Committees would each make one recommendation for membership. Past members have included law professors, historians, agricultural experts, and thoroughbred and harness racing enthusiasts. If the bill is enacted into law, the current members of the temporary council appointed in 2016 would remain seated.
Having passed the State Senate, the legislation is now under consideration by the Assembly.