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Queens Chronicle

Cuomo casino plan still leaves city out

New proposal allows for full gaming on Long Island and in Westchester

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:03 am, Thu Jun 20, 2013.

If Gov. Cuomo’s latest casino proposal comes to pass, Resorts World Casino New York City may never have table games, but potential casinos just over the border on Long Island may.

Under a bill proposed by the governor last week, downstate will be shut out of casinos with table games for five years to allow three casinos to be built upstate. Then, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley will be open for full gaming facilities, but still not New York City.

Cuomo has said he wanted to focus on upstate casinos because he believed they would bring jobs and tourism dollars to the economically depressed areas there and felt a casino in New York City with table games would take business away from upstate.

Four regions would be eyed for a casino, but for five years, essentially anywhere in the state south of Poughkeepsie would not be allowed to have table games, including Resorts World.

Legislators who represent the communities around Resorts World still want to see it included in any expansion of gambling.

“I think the governor’s proposal is a good starting point on enhancing gaming in New York State, but if we don’t strongly consider Queens, we’re leaving out the jobs and benefits to the community,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park).

The Senate and the Assembly have their own competing bills, both of which would allow a casino in the city after a certain amount of time. In the Senate’s proposal, sponsored by state Sen. John Bonacic (R-Orange County), that moratorium would be five years, more than the year and a half ban on city casinos being pushed by state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), but acceptable to him.

“Five years is certainly better than never,” Addabbo said. “Certainly any proposal without including the possibility of full table gaming at Resorts World, which has been proof of the positive economic impact of casinos — I can’t accept that.”

Addabbo added that the governor’s proposal risks unnecessarily dividing the state.

“It lends to no rational thought or formula to divide the state into regions when the whole state should benefit,” he said. “By excluding Resorts World, which has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, the whole state will not benefit.”

Addabbo even said that leaving out Resorts World could mean the state may be “better off” without table games.

He noted that he is optimistic the governor’s proposal would not be the final one.

“This has the potential of possibly changing even further,” he said.

However, time is running out on negotiations. The session ends on June 20 and any bill that isn’t drafted by Monday will not be voted on this session, unless Cuomo opts to keep the Legislature past that date.

Legislation would have to be passed this session in order for a referendum authorizing table games to be put before voters on the November general election ballot.

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