Vernon Downs got a tax relief

The New York state legislature reached an agreement to bailout Vernon Downs racino after its operator claimed it would close otherwise.

US.- The Vernon Downs operator assured that the New York State racetrack and casino was losing clients and needed a tax relief in order to keep the business running. Following the warning, the state Legislature reached an agreement to give Vernon Downs an extra US$2 million (or more) from the state’s share of revenue from video-lottery machines at the venue.

Senator Joseph Griffo, who represents the racetrack, said: “I think what is before us right now is acceptable. Obviously things could have been done differently, but you just get to a point where you just want to be able to save and preserve these 300 jobs.”

The Senate had already passed a bill that would’ve given the venue tax breaks for five years, saving it nearly US$4 million a year, an amount that satisfied the racetrack’s needs. However, the Assembly passed a different bill reducing tax breaks for only two years, saving it US$2 million dollars instead, a figure closer to the one approved this Thursday as part of the special-session deal brokered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I’m thrilled because it has been such a struggle, and I’m mainly thrilled for my employees and the people at Vernon. It could have wiped out the town,” track owner Jeff Gural said.

According to the bill, Vernon Down will keep 75 percent of the former expenses that’d go to the state Gaming Commission as payment for operation of the machines. The deal also allows Gural to pay for operating expenses with money originally designed for capital improvement at the track.

Even as minority owner Gary Greenberg claimed that US$2 million would be insufficient, Gural said that the track was projected to lose nearly that amount so the deal “will probably let me [him] break about even.”

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