New York State contemplating expanding casino offerings
Lawmakers in Albany, the capital of New York, are deliberating whether to allow table games in places such as the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, in Saratoga, less than an hour form the state’s capital. Supporters point out that table games, such as blackjack and poker, could boost revenue for the state by billions of dollars. At this point, the state could really use the money. It, like so many of the other governments in the United States and abroad, have had their economies impacted by the recent upheaval in the global financial situation.
To evaluate the idea, two state Senate committees are debating the issue. This follows comments from the governor, Andrew Cuomo, that the state should consider changing its gambling laws.
The committee heard opinions from the New York Gaming Association, which lobbies for the Saratoga Casino and Raceway as well as eight other New York entities with video lottery terminals.
In his report, Association President James Featherstonhaugh said that New Yorkers wager between $3 billion and $5 billion each year on a variety of table games in venues that are out of state. For now, the only casinos in New York are located in casinos on Native American reservations. All of them are upstate, far from New York City. In fact, for Manhattan residents, the closest casinos with table games are found in neighbouring state New Jersey, which is home to Atlantic City and its large casinos there.
Featherstonhaugh reported that a constitutional amendment which would okay table games in the nine racetrack casinos would add important revenue to the state’s coffers and help make up for the gambling money that is spent out of state. In addition, it would be used in state for funding important civic activities like education.