New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, claims his commercialise gambling in New York proposal will mean huge changes for both tribal casinos and racinos in the state.
In his State of the State Address, the governor proposed a constitutional amendment to open casino opportunities to non-Indians – one of a long list of proposals introduced to amend the state constitution and expand casino gambling beyond tribal facilities.
Needing the approval of two consecutive legislatures and a majority referendum vote by the public, none of those past proposals have ever passed a second round in the Legislature, the public has never voted on the amendment and none of the bills introduced to the Senate and Assembly have been acted on.
If the bills do get taken by the legislature this time, though – in a memorandum to Cuomo’s proposal, Program Bill 26 – Cuomo said in a report by The Oneida Daily Dispatch that casino gaming could have a “significant potential to be a major economic engine for New York state. While the state does not fully regulate current casino facilities, Cuomo says “the reality is that we already have gaming throughout the state”.
With five tribal casinos and nine racinos, New York has over 29,000 slots, which is worth noting that’s more than Atlantic City, as well as any other state in the Northeast or Midwest. With this at the forefront of Cuomo’s mind, he added: “New York state is surrounded by gambling. States and Canadian provinces just across our borders have legalised casino gambling. Our competitor states and provinces get the tourism, revenue and good jobs that belong here.”
Cuomo estimates that more than $1 billion of economic activity would be generated from commercialised casino gambling. However, bills to update the constitution haven’t been passed in the last four decades, so what makes this proposal so special? And if action is taken by the Legislature this term, and the rest of the requirements of a constitutional amendment are successful, the change would still not take effect until 2014, giving boarding states plenty of time to race ahead.