Bonacic calls for additional racino games at horse tracks
By The Associated Press
ALBANY — The state Senate’s Republican majority may push for casino-like electronic games such as blackjack to be added to horse racing tracks across New York, including the one in Monticello.
“It’s an expansion of gaming at ‘racinos,’” said Sen. John J. Bonacic.
Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, said on Tuesday that his proposal would bring $175 million in revenue to the state and could include any game of chance in an electronic or computer form. Many traditional casino games are unconstitutional in New York state, except for on Indian-owned land.
Under Bonacic’s plan, Monticello Raceway in Sullivan County would transfer its racino operation a couple miles away to the storied Concord Hotel when that facility reopens in about two-and-a-half years. Concord developer Louis Cappelli plans a $1 billion resort at the old Borscht Belt site with gambling, golf, shopping, a spa, a water park and horse racing.
Bonacic said his bill could be part of a revenue proposal that the Senate will consider in its special session on Dec. 15 to combat New York’s fiscal crisis, or it could be part of Gov. David Paterson’s 2009-10 budget proposal on Dec. 16.
Besides Monticello, video slot machines are at harness track “racinos” at Batavia Downs in Genesee County, Yonkers Raceway in Westchester County, Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway in Erie County, Finger Lakes Gaming and Raceway in Ontario County, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, Tioga Downs in Tioga County and Vernon Downs in Oneida County. The Senate’s Republican majority — which becomes the body’s minority party on Jan. 1. — also wants video slot machines at the Belmont thoroughbred track in Elmont.
Bonacic said his bill has the support of Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, a Westchester Democrat who is chairman of the chamber’s Racing and Wagering Committee.
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