Syracuse Univ. plans to spend $118M on "improvements to the Carrier Dome that will include a permanent roof, a vertically hung scoreboard, air conditioning and other amenities," according to a front-page piece by Chris Carlson of the Syracuse POST-STANDARD. The project "won't affect a football, basketball or lacrosse season, and some of the work will begin as early as this summer." Parts of the project, including the new roof, are "expected to be in place" for the Fall of '20. Other improvements are "scheduled to be in place" by the Fall of '22. The renovations should "address many of the common complaints from fans about a building that was considered a modern marvel when it opened" in '80 but whose "air-supported roof and concrete interior were growing increasingly archaic and challenging." The improvements planned for the '20 football season include the "roof, scoreboard, new sound and lighting systems, improved wireless internet and improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act." The planned improvements for '22 include "air conditioning, enhanced restrooms and new concessions spaces." The changes will allow SU to "turn out the lights in the building, allowing for more dramatic pre-game and halftime experiences." SU AD John Wildhack said, "The center-hung scoreboard will be a wow factor for our fans. The fact that (it's on a track and) you can move it over for basketball is cool." Syracuse Senior VP & CFO Amir Rahnamay-Azar said that the school will "pay for the project using three internal sources of revenue -- fundraising, school reserves and borrowing" (Syracuse POST-STANDARD, 5/15).
Horse racing has "long envisioned sports betting as a potential stimulus to the struggling industry," and architects representing The Stronach Group "already have checked out some of the most expansive sports books at Las Vegas casinos for ideas on hosting similar facilities at its tracks," according to Mike Tierney of the L.A. TIMES. Stronach Group COO Tim Ritvo said, "We would pursue (a sports book) at every one of our racetracks." With its vast amount of space, Santa Anita Park could "physically accommodate sports betting better than any other prospective site in California." Ritvo, referring to the Vegas sports books, said, "We have a million square feet. ... That's the kind of rooms we'd want to build" (L.A. TIMES, 5/15). DAILY RACING FORM's Matt Hegarty noted Monmouth Park has "already built a sports-betting facility on its grounds" and has partnered with U.K. bookmaker William Hill to "run the bookmaking operation." Monmouth Park is operated by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, "meaning benefits from any sports-wagering operation will flow at least indirectly to the racing industry." However, it is not clear "at all in other jurisdictions whether an expansion of sports betting will have a negative or positive impact on horse racing, which has not fared well when faced with more competitors in the gambling marketplace" (DRF.com, 5/14).
ON YOUR MARKS: In Louisville, Tim Sullivan notes Churchill Downs Inc. is "well-positioned to pounce." According to the company's calculations, its TwinSpires.com is "already the nation's largest legal mobile and online wagering platform." If Kentucky politicians "clear the way for gambling on games ... it's easy to imagine TwinSpires.com rapidly extending its reach into football, basketball and other sports." Similarly, it is "easy to imagine" Churchill Downs' gaming facility "being converted or expanded from 600 historical racing machines to include a full-service sports book" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/15).