NYRA Holds First-Ever Open Board Meeting In Search Of Ideas To Boost Revenue
NYRA's goal of "becoming financially sustainable is proving to be elusive," and its BOD yesterday emphasized that the "red ink cannot continue to flow," according to James Odato of the Albany TIMES UNION. The board yesterday held its "first open meeting ever" in Saratoga Springs. The board indicated that "increasing revenues and paring expenses, perhaps even closing Aqueduct Race Track, have become top priorities." Board members said that NYRA "must not rely on a share of video lottery terminal wagering at Aqueduct." NYRA for the first six months of this year recorded a $10.3M operating loss, "more than double the loss of the same period" last year. The association reported net income of $8.1M in part due to the "infusion of VLT money," a figure that is "slightly above last year's level." NYRA President & CEO Chris Kay said that he "hopes to have a plan put together by next year detailing how NYRA can become a private business again." NYRA Finance Committee Chair Stuart Subotnick indicated that "saving money by closing Aqueduct" is a possibility. He added that NYRA "needs to find ways to get the community and governmental clearances to install wagering machines at 40 restaurants and sports bars" in New York City. Subotnick and other members said that it "is critical" to find new revenue sources through means such as retail expansion of betting outlets. NYRA BOD Chair David Skorton said that he "wants to hold private conversations with board members on the future of the tracks and issues such as adjusting the number of days of racing at Saratoga Race Course." Kay added that he "hopes to retain a consultant later this year" to help the board "better understand where NYRA fits in the sports and entertainment world" (Albany TIMES UNION, 8/29).