Governor Calls for More Casinos ASAP!

by , Jan 27, 2012 | 3:40 pm

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address on Jan 4 to say, “We have long flirted and dallied with another potential economic engine — casino gaming — and when it comes to gaming, we’ve been in a state of denial.” Instead of flirting, Cuomo recommended a constitutional amendment that would finally consummate the state’s relationship with gaming.

Aside from making industry lobbyists flush, the governor claimed the Full Monty approach to gaming would generate $1 billion in economic activity. Of course estimated gaming-related revenues have to be taken with a grain of salt. In the fictitious town of Lake Wobegon, all the children were above average. When it comes to gaming revenue estimates, every state and municipality assumes an above-average piece of the pie, ignoring the expansion plans of its neighbors. Read More States Betting on Casino Gambling for Jobs, Revenue.

Not everyone stands to gain. NY currently has nine Indian casinos, five of which are run by the Seneca Nation. The Seneca have a 21-year agreement that gives them exclusive territorial gambling rights. After Cuomo’s speech, they wondered if their gambling treaty would end up being one more “broken promise.” Ouch.  You can read more about their anxiety: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Gambling Push Opposed by Native American Tribes. 

Atlantic City can’t be too happy about Cuomo’s plans. It is already seeing some of its gambling revenues poached by Pennsylvania slot parlors and NY’s Racinos. But apparently Las Vegas is putting on a good front. This week, Howard Stutz writes, Gaming’s Spread No Threat to Strip.

New Yorkers will undoubtedly get an earful about the societal costs associated with the expansion of gaming. In fact, it has already begun. The New York Post op-ed page is one of the first to ante up with The House Loses.

The biggest potential winner will be Genting New York, a subsidiary of the Malaysian Genting Group. Genting recently opened the racino at Aqueduct raceway in Queens, NY. The company has committed $4 billion to build a new convention center on the site, betting it will be able to combine it with a full-fledged casino operation. It should come as no surprise that Genting greased the skids a little before the announcement of Cuomo’s State of the State address bestowing the virtues of the new convention center and expanded gambling. For the details, read Bloomberg’s Genting Almost Doubled New York Lobbying Costs Before Cuomo Plan. 

It may take awhile before New York can pass a constitutional amendment to expand gambling. My guess is that will be just fine with gaming lobbyists.

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