A newly published study claims that a new horse racing facility at Belmont Park would be a massive windfall for the state and local governments — as the proposed project would generate $1 billion in economic activity, and lead to the hiring of 3,700 construction workers.
After completion, the facility would rake in $155 million annually for the economy, while creating 740 full-time jobs. The state and local governments would get an additional $10 million in new taxes per year, the survey claims.
According to the study, which was commissioned by the advocacy group We Are NY Horse Racing (made up of stakeholders in the state’s horse racing industry), claims that the project, if completed, would generate 2.6x that amount of money invested in the idea.
Belmont Park is located along the border of Queens and Nassau County on Long Island, and plays host to the Belmont Stakes each year, which marks the final leg of the prestigious Triple Crown.
HR&A Advisors conducted the study, and examined the plan to create a facility that would allow for year-round racing at Belmont Park, which would become the hub of horse racing in the lower part of New York State.
As of now, Belmont Park only functions as a hub for racing between April through and July.
According to HR&A Advisors, the plan to upgrade Belmont Park would cost approximately $455 million, and it would generate around 2.6-times that amount in economic activity in the succeeding years.
The study comes during a heated debate, where advocates for the plan are looking to allow the New York Racing Association, Inc (NYRA) to secure bonds backed by the Empire State government.
That would require action from the state legislature.
The NYRA tried to get the necessary legislation passed earlier this year, but they were not successful, and continued to be shut out of the needed $450 million in capital money that would ostensibly be granted by the state bond program.
“Importantly, NYRA would be responsible for all debt service on the bonds, and therefore no taxpayer dollars would be used to fund any upgrades,” the group claims.
Belmont Park first opened in 1905, and this plan would be the first major upgrade to Belmont Park since the late 1960s.
“This new and comprehensive analysis proves what we have all long known — that a new Belmont Park will be a huge win for the Long Island economy,” said Matthew Cohen, LIA President & Chief Executive Officer.
The group of advocates also pointed to an opinion poll that they commissioned which found that a majority of New Yorkers, including a large majority of residents of the surrounding area, were in favor of the plan.
“Building a new Belmont Park is a priority for Long Island that enjoys supermajority support from New Yorkers across the state,” said Jack Sterne, We Are NY Horse Racing spokesman.