New York Governor Cuomo: No Plans to Expand Casino Operations

New York Governor. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently stated he remains in opposition to any further expansion of gambling operations in his state. Especially concerning two downstate racinos: Resorts World New York City and Empire City Casino.

These two racinos, which are currently only allowed to offer video lottery terminals that resemble slot machines and electronic table games to its customers, have offered hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental state tax revenue in exchange for the full-scale casino licenses their upstate competitors have received as of late.

However, despite huge budget shortfalls across the state budget board, the governor remains opposed to expanding gambling anywhere downstate.

A 10-Year Deal

Of course, this is not without good reason. It was under the state’s 2013 gaming law that no new casinos licenses are to be issued before the year 2023. This statute was purposely designed to provide four upstate commercial full-scale casinos with a 10-year exclusivity on gambling to assist in building their businesses.

New Jersey

However, 2013 was a long time ago, and a few unforeseen issues have come up over the years. Namely, the overturning of the PASPA, which has basically legalized sports gambling from state to state. New Jersey led the way on this issue and has been reaping the benefits ever since.

The Garden State has expanded all of its gambling industry and has sat back and watched as players have flooded in from NYC as well as downstate New York.

Much needed tax revenue is exiting the state via a short drive to New Jersey, and this fact is making all New York industry players a little jealous, to say the least.

Power Players Pushing

As anyone can imagine, permitting a few full-scale casinos to operate in the greater New York City area would be an instant goldmine for those gaming operators. The world’s largest companies know this too, and have been lobbying hard for New York to lift this moratorium on downstate casinos.

One of these companies is the Las Vegas Sands, and they have been actively lobbying for a full-scale license somewhere in the five boroughs for a casino resort for years now. There are estimates the state could pull in more than $500 million a year after lifting this licensing ban.

“The New York City gaming market is a tremendous opportunity to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental tax revenue that could be used to support local schools and revitalize the MTA,” added an MGM representative.

While another added, “It would allow New York an opportunity to capture tax dollars that are currently flowing out of state. MGM and Genting jointly support the authorization of downstate licensing that will activate this potential immediately.”

What’s Next

Governor Cuomo may have painted himself into a bit of a corner, even beyond the casino moratorium, as he did not assume any new tax revenue from legal gambling in his latest fiscal budget. Another well of tax revenue, online sports betting, was also left out of the budget completely.

As the state law stands now, only the four upstate commercial casinos and tribal gaming venues can operate any land-based sportsbooks.

All hope is not lost as The New York Gaming Commission has hired Spectrum Gaming Group to conduct a thorough review of the future of the state’s gaming market and industry.

Their first draft will include the benefits of authorizing mobile sports betting. However, the initial review isn’t due until early April, which is after the state budget is expected to be finalized. It is probably safe to say New York gambling expansion is coming, just not anytime soon.

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