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Queens Chronicle

Bill to raise gambling age to 21 reintroduced

Addabbo, Goldfeder sponsor proposal

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:26 am, Thu Feb 14, 2013.

As Gov. Cuomo mulls plans to open new casinos in New York State and eyes full gambling — including table games — two Queens legislators are renewing their call to have the gambling age raised to 21 for all of the state’s casinos.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway) are reintroducing legislation in their respective houses that would  raise the gambling age to 21 from 18.

The two legislators, who represent districts that include Resorts World Casino New York City at Aqueduct Racetrack, introduced the same bill last year, but it never came up for a vote. They hope it will be considered this year with gambling high on on Cuomo’s agenda. 

The governor said during his State of the State speech last month he wanted four new casinos to be constructed upstate Last week, he announced the first casino could be build in Niagara Falls as part of his proposal to bring full gambling to the state. That would need to be approved by voters in a statewide referendum. 

But Addabbo said the bill needs to be passed regardless of whether voters approve full casino gambling. 

“Even if the state never gets full gaming, the gambling age needs to be raised to 21,” Addabbo said. “We can’t have kids as young as 18 gambling away their money.”

Some of those patronizing Resorts World are under 21, which is concerning for many. The casino is four blocks from John Adams High School, where some seniors meet the age requirement to gamble at the casino. 

Genting New York, the parent company of Resorts World casino, supports the legislation. Many casino operators like the idea because it eliminates the need for cocktail waitresses to ask for identification on the casino floor when selling drinks, as is currently done at Resorts World. That is not 50 at casinos like Mohegan Sun in Connecticut or in Atlantic City and Las Vegas because the gambling age and drinking age are 21 in those locations. 

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