New York’s plans for gambling industry expansion saw all sides agreeing that some kind of expansion of casino business in the state was needed. Tribal leaders, city mayors and the newly formed New York Gaming Association (NYGA) are all backing casino business expansion. Each side has its own view on what shape it would take though. The whole centers on whether racetracks around the state should be allowed to become fully-fledged casinos or “racinos.”
The NYGA is firmly backing the need for constitutional change in the state. It states that the current racino sites are where expansion takes place arguing that deals with Native American casino haven’t worked well or been lucrative for the state. According to group leader James Featherstonhaugh, they will be able to build nine casinos by January 2014 as long as the amendment process has been completed by November 2013. NYGA thinks that around 50-80% of the $3.1billion in gambling dollars spent by New York will be repatriated under the plans. Their main argument still centers on the Native Americans not putting any money back into the state. This is one point that they are clearly mistaken about.
As we’ve shown in the past, the Seneca Indian Nation signed a deal with the state in relation to giving something back. It was only when the state breached the terms of the deal that the Senecas’ felt slighted and put an end to the agreement. The Senecas’ and other tribal gaming industry groups are another group that is interested in any expansion that’s approved. Randy King, trustee chairman of the Shinnecock Indian Nation urged the hearing the let them build a casino on Long Island with the Stockbridge Munsee Community also looking to build one in the Catskills.
The last group with a vested interest in the hearing is the mayors of various cities. Uppermost of these was Albany mayor Jerry Jennings when he stated his city’s love for all things VLT. He told a reporter at the hearing that is the city were allowed around 1,500 VLTs then they could take $140m in funds. He commented, “Expanded gaming can produce immediate results by authorizing upstate cities to deploy VLTs and keep the revenue and the jobs in their communities to hep pay for education, housing, quality of life initiatives and economic development projects.”
One point that most of these stakeholders are missing is that any online gambling industry regulation, whether it be at an intra-state or federal level, would cut into their plans. Tribal groups are likely to be the ones that are happiest right now though. The Obama administration approved a bill that favored them earlier this summer and if this bill goes through, they can continue to keep all the money for themselves.