Senate Passes Larkin Bill To Increase Vlt Revenue

William J. Larkin, Jr.

June 14, 2007

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced legislation he sponsored (S.3830-C) to increase revenue from video lottery terminals for education and local tourism has passed the State Senate.

The bill aims to increase the video lottery race track vendor license fee so that vendors, particularly smaller upstate gaming facilities, will have the resources to contribute to state aid for schools, and build and maintain top quality VLT gaming facilities that lead to the creation of new tourism destinations throughout the state.

"New York State has the lowest blended VLT race track vendor fee east of the Mississippi River," said Senator Larkin. "The fee is under 30%. If we increase the fee, the revenue these facilities would generate would significantly increase available school aid for local school districts. It would also help create state-of-the-art facilities to attract tourists and increase business for restaurants, hotels, shops and other small businesses particularly in economically depressed upstate regions."

The range of vendor fees in other states is as follows: Louisiana, 63.3%; Maine, 61 %; Iowa, 60%; New Mexico, 54.8%; Delaware, 49%; Pennsylvania, 45%; West Virginia, 42%, and Florida, 38%. Except for Florida, New York has the lowest vendor fee for small VLT facilities, but if the facilities are large ones, the New York’s blended rate is the lowest on the eastern seaboard, and possibly in the nation.

This bill raises the VLT vendor fee, in certain limited circumstances, for small New York gaming facilities to between 36% and 42% (depending on the market conditions of the facility in question), plus an additional marketing fee of 2% to help advertise these facilities. "This increase in the vendor fee would still place small New York VLT vendors in the middle of the pack when compared to vendor rates established by other states that have VLT programs," said Larkin. "Without this change, several current VLT facilities may have to discontinue operating."