The state gaming commission would decide where the casinos would be located, and they must have the support of local governments.
Could one of these casinos come to the Rochester area? Both Batavia Downs and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack would like their facilities, dubbed “racinos,” to become full-fledged casinos. They currently only have video lottery terminals.
What about downtown Rochester? Doesn’t sound like it. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he wants them to be destinations, not located in dense places where people could “go out to lunch from working and lose a month’s pay.” I also can’t see Mayor Tom Richards going all in on a casino, but it’s not clear if he will seek reelection.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Medley Centre’s owner is lobbying for a casino.
The state may not locate a casino in this region because of its compact with the Seneca Nation, which bars competition west of Route 14. The Senecas have been withholding payments to the state and localities because they believes the Finger Lakes and Batavia racinos violate the exclusivity deal. But the Senecas’ compact expires in 2016, which isn’t too far off.
Before New York gets more casinos, the state constitution has to be amended. Cuomo wants to legalize up to seven privately-owned casinos statewide. The state legislature ratified his amendment last year. It has to ratify it a second time and then it would be voted on by all New Yorkers. A vote could happen this year.
Cuomo insists casinos are economic development tools and would help Upstate. That hasn’t worked out so well for Niagara Falls, as studies show casinos don’t help revitalize cities. Casinos do, however, fill state coffers.