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$200 Million Diverted from School Fund to Racetracks

The state of New York diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from education to a scandal-plagued horse racing operator, Buzzfeed News has found.

Seven years ago, the state legislature carved out a special agreement that so far has taken more than $200 million in lottery revenue — money that otherwise goes to New York’s beleaguered schools — and given it to the New York Racing Association (NYRA), a not-for-profit corporation known for running of one of America’s most glamorous horse races, the Belmont Stakes, but also for allegations of corruption ranging from racetrack tellers laundering drug money to the chair buying the favor of a top legislator. The sweetheart deal was intended to help the racing organization regain solvency and repay a large state loan, but in the end NYRA managed to keep the loan as a gift — and to keep the sweetheart deal, too.