New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t changed his opinion very much on gambling. In a statement on February 25, Cuomo made it clear that he does not support a “knee-jerk reaction” to allowing additional casinos to open in the state.
This comes as gambling interests have been lobbying for expansions of casinos within the New York City area. Operators have pledged more than $500 million to the state to acquire the new licenses. The MGM-owned Empire City and the Genting-owned Resorts World have been lobbying to receive two of the three remaining casino licenses authorized by the state. Las Vegas Sands Corporation is the other.
Despite the possibility of large revenues from license fees and taxes, the Governor did not include new casinos in his most recent budget proposal. At the press briefing, Cuomo explained, “These are complicated issues, and I am skeptical about quick, knee-jerk reactions to doing something like that, especially if it’s conditioned on money.”
There is a ban on new casino licenses being issued until 2023. The purpose of the ban is to allow the four upstate casinos to have the opportunity to develop and grow before allowing additional operations to begin. However, operators have been pushing to try to get this ban lifted, suggesting that it would give the state enough money to help with the $6 billion deficit New York faces.
Adding to the mix is the fact that Cuomo recently dismissed the idea of allowing online sports betting within the state. Sports betting is currently allowed at the four upstate casinos and tribal gaming venues, but no online or mobile wagering has been made legal.
As a result, the easiest option for New York City residents looking to bet on sports is to cross state lines into New Jersey. This is bad for the state, as it loses tax revenue to its neighbor.
The governor is not moved by this argument, pointing out his belief that allowing online wagering can only be accomplished through a change in the state constitution. This isn’t a point of view shared by state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr, as he told CalvinAyre.com recently.