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When is a casino a casino?

Governor Andrew Cuomo called out racinos – several of which the state allows to call themselves casinos – as not being the real thing.

Racinos, including the Finger Lakes Racetrack and Casino, are only allowed to have video slots. There are no table games like blackjack and poker. The racinos, which operate at racetracks, desperately want to become full casinos. Cuomo wants a constitutional amendment to allow seven non-Indian casinos. The racinos say they are perfect locations.

But Cuomo says, “Not so fast.” He is against giving racinos a leg up in the deal and said the racino arrangements have been a bad deal for taxpayers. He wants an independent commission to determine where the casinos will be located. He would cut out the legislature and he is opposed to local referendums on gambling.

The Batavia and Finger Lakes racinos within the Senecas’ exclusivity zone prompted the Senecas to withhold payments from the state. Cuomo believes the Senecas are violating their state contract and is open to putting a new non-Indian casino in their zone, which includes Rochester and Buffalo.

Cuomo acknowledges racinos are at a disadvantage if casinos are allowed to locate nearby. He said the following during a press conference with Albany reporters (first video in link, starts at 11:45):

You can’t put a casino next door, because who’s going to go to the racino if you can get the real thing at the casino? You’ll only know that a racino that is a racino that is called a casino is really a racino when it is located and standing next to an actual casino. You’ll see the difference in the C and the R…and read that quote back to me before you use it.

Got that?

Meanwhile, the New York Times revealed a group with close ties to Cuomo got millions of dollars from gambling interests.

The earliest a constitutional amendment to expand gambling can go before voters is 2013.

4 Responses to Racinos v. Casinos

  1. June 5, 2012 at 8:35 am lynn e responds:

    Casinos are negative money makers for the people of NY. While I would never go back to prohibition of it, it tales money from people and makes more money for people who have it. The state will end up taking care of many of those who gamble and families whose members suffer from the consequences.

    • June 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm brian responds:

      You are an absolute moron….I live in a city called las vegas you may have heard of it before.Founded on gmabling combined with entertainment…..guess what little to no welfareand no state taxes….what a deal. you don’t have to foot the bill for all the blood sucking welfarians and the bs they have been towing for years. Wake up and smell america …the land of CHOICES…you gamble all the time and just dont realize it .

      • June 6, 2012 at 11:14 am James Simons responds:

        Brian, keep it civil. Comparing any city proposing one casino to Las Vegas or even Atlantic City is a mistake. Those cities are tourism destinations and pull in people from all across the nation and world. A mid-sized city in upstate NY is not going to transform into a tourism mecca because of one casino. Not when there countless other 1-casino town options to choose from.

        Furthermore, you might want to rethink about how well Vegas and AC are doing. They both have been hit pretty hard with the downturn in the economy as the gambling industry has struggled. And Vegas has for years been trying to broaden its economy outside of gambling to help better weather economic storms. AC’s economy can best be described as a mess.

        So if these are the prime examples for pro-gambling communities to strive towards, count me out. Rochester is building the foundation for a well-balanced economy. Downtown is growing in residential prominence. Once it reaches the breaking point for downtown population, retail and more restaurants will follow. There is no magic bullet for downtown redevelopment. It takes smart planning and time.

  2. June 5, 2012 at 11:28 am theodore kumlander responds:

    i am old enough to remember before gambling in NY starting with the NYS lottery and OTB gambling has been a bad deal for everyone.

    The NYS legislator reduce the amount of money the state contributes to education by the amount the NYS lottery takes in so no one benfits really except greedy politicians.

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