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LI legislators introduce video slots bill

A look inside the Empire City Casino at

A look inside the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway on April 18, 2012. Credit: Nancy Siesel

ALBANY -- Two Long Island legislators have introduced a bill to allow off-track betting parlors in Nassau and Suffolk counties to add lucrative video slot machines.

Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) said his legislation, co-sponsored by Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) seeks to allow Nassau and Suffolk OTBs to compete with facilities such as Aqueduct and Yonkers Raceway, which have video slots.

"This is about helping Suffolk and Nassau OTBs because they have been struggling," Boyle said, although the bill could apply to any off-track betting facility in New York.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who has pushed to allow off-track betting to host, or video lottery terminals -- known as VLTs -- for years, indicated he'd back them at existing facilities or at a new "regional" facility that would benefit both counties.

"Nassau and Suffolk counties are jointly supporting a regional VLT facility to assist with the costs of education and holding the line on property taxes," Mangano said in a statement.

OTB officials have long sought VLTs to compete with "racinos" -- combination horse racing tracks and betting parlors, such as Aqueduct. The machines have revived the tracks; on Wednesday, the racino association announced the nine tracks grossed $167 million in revenue in April, a 7 percent increase in one month.

But efforts to allow OTB facilities to participate haven't gained traction in the State Legislature.

Meanwhile, legislators are weighing a plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to authorize up to seven non-Indian-run casinos in the state but to first limit development to three upstate facilities.

Boyle and Nassau OTB chairman Joe Cairo shot down reports they are seeking an Island casino. With Robert Brodsky

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