New York State Racing and Wagering Board

Capital Improvement Funds

Under State law, a portion of certain types of wagers made on races held at the State’s eight privately-owned racetracks is to be set aside by the tracks and the State’s off-track betting corporations for capital improvements at the tracks. These dedicated funds are deposited into special capital improvement fund accounts at each racetrack. The tracks’ use of these funds must be approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, and the eight tracks are required by law to submit a capital plan annually to the Board indicating how they intend to use the funds. The Board is required by law to conduct annual inspections at each track to determine whether their capital plans adequately meet their capital improvement needs. We examined the Board’s oversight of the capital improvement funds at the eight racetracks.

We found that the Board had established a good framework for capital planning at the eight racetracks, and actively monitored capital improvement fund account activity. However, the Board’s oversight of the capital plans and accounts would be strengthened if certain improvements were made in the Board’s administrative practices. In particular, deposits into the capital improvement fund accounts are governed by automated withholding calculations, and the accuracy of these calculations needed to be adequately verified. We also found that the amount of funding available for capital improvements at the eight racetracks had declined significantly, due to certain statewide wagering trends, and could be further eroded if the tracks were allowed to use capital improvement fund accounts in connection with their planned installation of video lottery terminals. We recommended that the Board institute a long-term strategic planning process to address possible shortfalls in the racetracks’ capital improvement funding.

For a complete copy of Report 2002-S-44 click here.