By VALERIE BAUMAN
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York should expand the types of video slot machines available at race tracks around to state to generate more money for education, a state senator said Thursday.
The proposal comes as lawmakers are looking for new sources of revenue and Gov. David Paterson’s executive budget includes a $698 million cut in education funding to help close a projected $12 billion deficit over the next two years.
State Sen. Jeffrey Klein’s bill would dedicate $145 million to education by adding new machines with different games. Altogether, officials estimate the new games could generate $276 million, but much of that goes to the state lottery, machine maintenance, the racing industry and the tracks that host the machines.
"These are more interactive games, more exciting games, which could generate more revenue," said Klein, a Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and southern Westchester County.
The current video slot machines have electronic versions of instant scratch off lottery games. The new games would include things like roulette, baccarat, twenty-one and craps. Klein said New York needs to remain competitive with other states that have the latest lottery technology.
Klein said video slot machine revenue has increased 12 percent in the past year and the games produced $875 million in fiscal year 2007-08.
The new electronic table games would operate in the same way as traditional video slot machines. Each play in a video lottery game would represent an electronic version of a lottery ticket. Multiple players could participate at the same time.
New York has more than 13,000 video slot machines at eight horse racing tracks across the state. Klein’s proposal would put nearly 20,000 new machines around the state.
In 2010, two more tracks — Aqueduct on Long Island and a new tracking being built in the Catskills — will also have video slot machines.
Lottery officials would decide who to contract for the machines and maintenance.