Vernon Downs Owner Unhappy with Governor Cuomo

The head of GFP Real Estate and owner of Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, Jeff Gural, has directed some serious claims against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. According to him, back in 2011, the governor strong-armed him and other members of the New York Gaming Association to donate US$2 million to the Committee to Save New York, which is a group that supported the official’s agenda.

However, the Gaming Association declined, and shortly after its members received letters from the former director of the New York State Lottery reading that racetrack licenses are not an ongoing entitlement and could be rebid. Members of the organization had no other choice but to write those US$2 million checks to the group.

Baseless Accusation

Spokesperson for the Governor, Rich Azzopardi was quick to respond to the allegation and described them as unsupported. Mr. Azzopardi stated that no one from the office knew what Mr. Gural was talking about. He also claimed that he is only frustrated with the new amendments to sports betting that do not fit his views.

Mr. Gural then responded to the claims by the spokesperson, stating that for once he was telling the truth. He continued by saying that he has invested over US$200 million in depressed areas of New York state and then the Governor came out with the idea of the state claiming all the profits. He also believes that the Governor is not quite fond of him due to his remarks on gaming licenses in 2011 when according to him the issuing of licenses was rigged.

The owner of the racetracks also directed some serious accusations stating that the people in charge of gaming in 2011 are still there and that they run a criminal enterprise. He also claimed that he can prove that the first round of the site selection and that it was made so he did not win the licensing. Mr. Gular then claimed that New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica was involved in the decision to create a mobile sports betting model similar to the state-run lottery.

He then continued by stating that gaming commissions should be above reproach which was not the case for the New York one. Mr. Gular gave an example by pointing out that the lobbyists for DraftKings are all friends of Mr. Mujica. And he concluded that the mobile sports betting model that the government had formed will not be successful.

Bidding Process Begins

At the start of July, after a brief delay the New York Gaming Commission released its Request for Applications for the two platform providers to host mobile sports betting in the state. Requirements for the providers will be 50% or more gross gaming revenue for the state, along with paying US$25 million to acquire the licensing fees. The process started on July 9, and candidates will have up to August 9 to submit their proposals.

Operational for Super Bowl?

The chairman of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, Senator Joseph Addabbo has given his prediction on when the mobile sports betting platform will be up and running. According to him, the application process can be conducted on time, and the platform can be fully operational for the next edition of the Super Bowl.

Source: “Vernon Downs owner says Cuomo administration strong-armed him, other track owners”, Spectrum News1, July 21, 2021

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Yolina has followed closely the latest development on the Canadian gaming scene over the past years, monitoring the land-based, lottery, and online offerings up for grabs. The dynamic nature of the local lottery and casino fields, as well as the opportunities lying ahead of Canada fire her enthusiasm for what is to come. A sports betting enthusiast, in her spare time Yolina could be found in her natural habitat – turning the pages of biographies and catching up on the latest stand-up comedy podcasts.