State comptroller criticizes Aqueduct owners

At a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to expand gambling in New York, the state Racing Association is not curbing costs, despite two critical audits by the state, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said yesterday.

DiNapoli released a third audit yesterday about the racing association, reporting that it did not implement any of nine recommendations for improved financial health that the state made in 2010.

The NYRA runs three horse racing tracks in New York state, including the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. It also runs racetracks in Saratoga Springs and Belmont Park, in Elmont, N.Y.

The Aqueduct is where Cuomo has future plans to build a massive convention center.

But the NYRA expects to lose $19.7 million in 2012, DiNapoli said. He also said he’s worried the NYRA will mismanage the estimated $48 million in cash it expects to get this year in revenue from new video lottery terminals installed at Aqueduct.

The NYRA needs to make critical decisions, DiNapoli said. For example, the NYRA has also reduced the cost of transporting horses by $92,000 each year, but has not evaluated whether to charge owners when it transports horses between tracks.

“The organization still has much work to do to carry out the reforms we recommended,” DiNapoli said.


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