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NY governor considers allowing casinos

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) thinks it might be time for the state to allow non-tribal casinos. On Tuesday, he said that the state has to “come to grips” with the fact that gambling is going on throughout the state, whether the state constitution allows it or not. “It’s really not an issue anymore of ‘Well, if we don’t officially sanction it as a government, it’s not going to happen,’” he said. “It is happening.”

Currently the state of New York has five tribal casinos, all of them located upstate. There are also eight racetracks where electronic slot machines are played, but no table games are allowed. The state also has a lottery. Aside from that, all other gambling is illegal due to a constitutional prohibition. Cuomo says the state should look into whether amending the constitution to allow casinos is a good idea.

Doing so won’t be easy. Amending the constitution in New York requires the bill to pass two consecutive legislative sessions. Then voters have to approve the referendum. In the late 1990’s, the state tried to pass an amendment to allow non-tribal casinos, but after it passed the first session, there was not enough support in the next for it to pass the legislature. Then last year the state Senate passed the bill but it never made it through the Assembly.

Owners of the racetracks featuring slot machines are lobbying for legislation that would allow them to be converted to full casinos with table games. There is also a push to bring a casino near New York City and other large metropolitan areas. New York expects to bring in $684 million in revenue from the racinos. Expanding to allow non-tribal full casinos would significantly increase that number.

Tags: gambling expansion, New York casino, New York gambling

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Categories: Casino, Gambling News
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