Following yesterday's announcement regarding the closure of New York City OTB and today's emergency rule changes by the NYS Racing & Wagering Board, harness racing industry stakeholder groups have issued a joint statement
The following joint statement was issued by the Empire State Harness Horsemen's Alliance, which includes the Standardbred Owners Association of NY, Harness Horse Association of Central NY, Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association, Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association and Western NY Harness Horsemen’s Association, along with New York standardbred breeders Blue Chip Farms, Cameo Hill Farm and Winbak Farm.
"While the closure of New York City Off Track Betting will obviously generate short term challenges for New York’s harness racing industry, in the long term it also presents an opportunity to re-think off-track wagering in the state altogether.
As we have suggested since the discussions over NYCOTB began, the producers of the racing product – the horsemen, breeders and racino operators who make up the industry – have a direct interest in racing’s well-being and therefore should be responsible for all aspects relating to pari-mutuel wagering, both on-track and off.
We commend the NYS Racing & Wagering Board for their swift action today to adopt emergency rules to make advance deposit wagering (ADW) easier for the betting public and believe that the next critical step will be to now approve live video streaming to allow New York racing fans easy access to our state’s high-quality racing product. We are confident that such a step will allow track-licensed ADW systems to emerge as profitable ventures and that they can become key components in the effort to preserve the racing handle here in New York.
We look forward to working with our fellow industry stakeholders and policy makers to ensure that the harness racing renaissance now taking place in New York continues."
The Empire State Harness Horse Alliance represents more than 2,500 harness horsemen – trainers, breeders, drivers, and owners – toiling in New York State’s harness industry.
By a substantial measure, Blue Chip Farms, Winbak Farm and Cameo Hills Farm are among the largest commercial Standardbred breeding farms in New York State.
(With files from Empire State Harness Horsemen's Alliance)