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Vernon given deadline

March 23, 2007

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The New York State Racing and Wagering Board reportedly ruled Thursday Vernon Downs officials must pay off more than $6 million in loans by April 2 or the track will not be able to continue racing, with owner Jeff Gural adding that unless the legislature makes a change and allows the track to keep a higher portion of the revenue he would probably close the site anyway.

\"If the law isn\'t changed by June 30, I would think we would probably close,\" Gural told The Post-Standard. \"It doesn\'t make sense to keep losing money.\"

Gural is hoping to reduce the current 60-percent rate the track is paying the New York State Lottery, and that Vernon is currently losing about $500,000 a month. Revenues are reportedly about $575,000 a week, which is $425,000 less than what Gural says is needed. A bill has been introduced to allow Vernon Downs and the other racetracks in the state to keep an additional 10 percent of revenues.

Vernon has been granted approval to begin live racing April 6 but the license is only temporary through the end of the month unless the loans are repaid. It owes $3 million to former investor Shawn Scott and $22.8 million to Las Vegas-based Vestin Mortgage Co., of which $3 million is due March 31.
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