Addabbo’s Senate district includes Aqueduct Raceway.
By Forum Staff
The Racing Fan Advisory Council may soon become a permanent part of the State Gaming Commission, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said Thursday after legislation he sponsored that would make the panel a perpetual component of the commission was approved in the Senate.
According to Addabbo, a temporary RFAC was established in 2011 to advise the State on how to improve and expand its racing industry, with a particular eye on attracting more people to the sport and celebrating its history. The council, which has been informally renewed since then by resolution, has produced reports and recommendations on how to improve the racing fan experience, and this input has been considered valuable, the senator said.
The permanent council would include five members. The quintet cannot: be employed by the Gaming Commission; lobby on behalf of tracks, OTBs and horsemen’s associations; or be officers of any of these groups. The members would serve for five years, and the Senate and Assembly racing committees would each make one recommendation for membership.
Addabbo, whose Senate district includes Aqueduct Raceway, noted that New York’s equine industry has an estimated $4.2 billion impact on the State’s economy, and generates 33,000 full-time jobs. In addition to racing revenues, the economic impact includes state and local taxes generated by the industry, and the preservation of 1.3 million acres of open space by horse farms, training centers, and riding stables.
“As we move forward with racing and pari-mutuel wagering in our state, a permanent council may help lead the way in promoting this important segment of New York’s economy,” Addabbo added.