Archive for the tag 'coney island casino'

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

A new poll suggests that a majority of New York City residents support changing the amendment to add seven new casinos somewhere in New York State, but don’t want to see it in the five boroughs, the New York Times reports.

The poll, conducted by the New York Times/Siena College, found that six in 10 likely New York City voters said they would vote for the amendment, when asked using the rosy, skewed language that highlights unproven benefits of casino gambling, such as job growth and funding for education. But 50 percent were opposed to seeing a full-scale casino in New York City, with only 42 percent in favor.

The ballot measure that would amend the constitution will lead to three new Las Vegas-style casinos to be created upstate as part of “first phase.” The second phase, which will roll out seven years later, will see four more casinos – at unspecified locations. Most observers believe a New York City casino is likely.

The poll also found that voters are fairly well informed about both the positives and the drawbacks of expanded casino gambling:

In the new poll, New York City residents said they expected both positive and negative effects from expanded casino gambling.

Seven in 10 said they thought it was quite likely that the casinos would bring in significant new revenue for government.

“Just in my apartment building alone, twice a month they have buses come and take people to Atlantic City,” Albert Perrotto, 55, from Far Rockaway, Queens, said in a follow-up interview. “If they take them to upstate New York instead, it would be a shorter ride, and people would go upstate, and the revenue would come here instead. It makes a lot of sense to me.”

At the same time, six in 10 city residents said they thought it was most likely that new casinos would increase societal problems such as crime and compulsive gambling

Quin Stratton, 23, who works for a credit-card processing center and lives in the Bronx, said she supported the amendment but would not want to see a full-scale casino developed in New York City. “If it’s in the city, it will attract people who don’t have a lot of money, and they will blow their whole paycheck,” she said.

“If the casinos are upstate, or far away, it’s harder,” Ms. Stratton added. “They would have to actually get into a car and would have to make that decision. If it’s in the city, then someone who gets off work will walk by and say, ‘Hey it’s a casino!’ and blow everything they just made.”

Still, the numbers are a good sign for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is closely linked with the initiative. As much as 40 percent of the state’s voters live in New York City, and the five boroughs are expected to have higher turnout due to the mayoral elections.

Good government advocates, including the Public Interest Research Group and Common Cause NY, continue to oppose the language and politicking of the ballot measure, although a lawsuit to have it reworded has failed.

A Times Union report notes that PIRG is urging media to use neutral language when describing the proposal. Common Cause NY, meanwhile, has put out a bulletin pulling back the veil on the larged pro-casino PAC – NY Jobs Now – which is funded almost entirely by gambling companies.

Source: Rob Bourdon via Flickr

Source: Rob Bourdon via Flickr

A majority of New Yorkers indicated that they would support the upcoming ballot measure that would allow for the development of seven casinos. The New York Times is reporting that the poll, conducted by Siena College, found that responders were influenced by the loaded political language crafted onto the measure.

Earlier in the month, we reported that the language present in the referendum was written in exceedingly glowing terms, promising job growth and lower taxes:

“The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?”

When presented with this question posed on the ballot, people polled responded favorably as 55 percent said they would support it. The Times described the importance of the wording in the analysis of the numbers:

The poll suggested that the wording of the question is significant. When voters were asked the question in a different way, without a list of casino development’s intended purposes, they were evenly divided.

The numbers also presented contrasting findings of people thinking that building casinos would both be a positive and a negative:

The poll found that voters agree with arguments both in favor of and against expanding casino gambling.

Seventy-four percent agreed that allowing the development of casinos would create thousands of jobs, and 65 percent agreed that more casinos would generate significant new revenue for the state and for local governments.

At the same time, 57 percent agreed that the state already has enough outlets for gambling and did not need more casinos. And 55 percent agreed that developing casinos would only increase societal problems, like crime and compulsive gambling.

As we argued in an editorial, studies reveal that casinos do not guarantee positive economic impact, and that any benefits may be counterbalanced by the destructive effects that gambling addiction has on families, communities and taxpayers. We also questioned why politicians were rushing to push this legislation through, crafting the language surrounding its potential approval as a no-brainer.

Still, it should be noted that 51 percent of the people polled in the survey found that the question itself, as worded, was fair.

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

Albany lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo have come to an agreement on the size and scale of casino expansion in New York State, announcing a potential rollout of three New York City-area casinos after an initial seven year moratorium.

The news comes after a slew of proposals offered by the governor and lawmakers. Cuomo wanted legislation that pushed for three in unspecified upstate locations, with four more locations to be announced later. He also pushed a moratorium on any New York City casinos for as much as five years. Siting for all casinos would have been determined by an independent panel under Cuomo’s plan.

Lawmakers, though, wanted a say in casino siting, and a handful of proposals emerged with siting locations written into the bill.

The latest proposal is a compromise, with general locations incorporated into the language. Two casinos would be allowed in the Catskills, and one each in the Capital region and Southern Tier, the Albany Times-Union reports. Then the state would accept bids for casinos in the New York City region – which includes Long Island and Westchester – in a second phase of expansion to take place seven years later.

The bill is also a giveaway to Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, granting up to 1,000 video lottery machines in Suffolk and Nassau counties. The addition would be a clear threat to the racino at Aquaduct, which currently has a stranglehold on video lottery machines in the region.

The proposed legislation will also require 39 percent of slot machine revenues and approximately 10 percent of revenues from table games, as opposed to the 65 percent of video lottery terminal revenue demanded from racinos. Additionally, as opposed to Cuomo’s last proposal, which called for a $50 million upfront licensing fee for any new casinos, the latest proposal does not include a specific upfront fee at all, nor a demand for capital investment or job creation.

In order for a casino expansion to go forward, a change to the state’s constitution is required. To do that, legislators must pass legislation in two consecutive sessions to change the language, and then put it to voters in a referrendum during the November elections. They already passed the first round of legislation during last year’s session. If the latest proposal passes – and it can as early as Friday – it will go to voters this year.

UPDATE (5:44 p.m.): It appears language saying the second phase would include three New York City-area casinos has been removed, reports Capital NY. Instead, no location is set for those three casinos, but a seven-year moratorium will still stay in place.

Source: Jamie Adams via Wikimedia Commons

It appears the New York State budget will be delivered on time for the third year in a row – a noteworthy accomplishment rising out of Albany’s dysfunction. But, in getting it done, legislators have postponed decision-making on some of the more controversial topics, including an amendment on the expansion of casino gambling that could see one established in Coney Island.

City & State reports:

“I have concern with working toward an on-time budget,” Cuomo said. “We’ve had two on-time budgets. This would be the third on-time budget since about 1984. We have a number of issues on the table that are challenging, that are controversial, so we’re working very hard, and it’s going well, but am I concerned? Yes.”

New York State has a $1.6 billion gap in its $135 billion budget for 2013–14. That amount is far smaller than the $10 billion deficit Cuomo had to tackle in his first year in office, but several thorny policy and spending issues remain.

One of the most pressing issues to complete the budget early, as Cuomo and legislative leaders would like, is finding cuts to healthcare spending after the federal government reduces Medicaid payments to the state this year, as well as finding additional funds to send to the New York City school system if teachers win a reversal of a $240 million budget slash resulting from the failed teacher evaluation talks.

As legislators and the governor mull these issues, they’ve been forced to table some of the governor’s ambitious goals until later in the legislative season, including an expansion of legalized gambling, an increase in minimum wage and immigration reform.

The Assembly is full steam ahead on minimum wage – already passing a bill increasing it to $9.00, but Senate Republicans who share leadership in that house are opposed to it.

Concerns about casinos, though, are more bipartisan, with many legislators demanding that any casino legislation moving forward include locations in the language, something Cuomo is against.

According to the Daily News, the timing of casino rollouts is also in question. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants not only siting language included, but a provision to spread out the timetable for casino development. The first phase of casino expansion as outlined by Governor Cuomo would see three casinos established upstate, and Silver wants a waiting period of up to five years before a second round of casinos is launched.

“That way, the governor next year doesn’t say, ‘We need a billion dollars, that’s what someone would bid for a Manhattan casino, let’s do one there,’ ” Silver told the Daily News.

“It would also enhance the value of the (first) three, if you give them exclusivity for five years or some period of time,” he added. “It would make the bidding of the three more valuable (for the state) as well, if [potential operators] know they only have two others to compete with and not one in New York City.”

Silver’s Republican counterpart in the Senate, Dean Skelos, said he wants to keep all options on the table.

Daily News is also reporting that the tide is beginning to turn in both houses, as casino lobbyists up their game.

The industry “is starting to put real pressure and offer up big donations to legislators who would go the other way and support a New York City casino,” the source said. “That’s why you’re starting to see a shift in the Legislature.”

The constitutional amendment would only authorize a number of casinos to be permitted. Separate legislation would be needed to spell out the details.

Silver said lawmakers want a say in what regions are eligible for casinos, but that they do not want to get involved in the bidding process, or where specifically a casino would be located within an agreed-upon region.

The budget is due March 31, making resolution of these thornier issues unlikely until later in the legislative session, which ends in June.

Resorts World Casino at the Aquaduct, in Queens. (Source: NYCGO)

Opponents of a Coney Island casino can breathe a little easier today, knowing that Governor Andrew Cuomo has scaled back his support for casino gambling in New York, and is ruling it out entirely in New York City.

During his State of the State address yesterday, New York’s chief executive said the state should begin with only three full-scale casinos – not seven, as is currently being considered by the legislature – and that all three be established upstate.

“We propose a casino plan to boost upstate development,” Cuomo said. “I believe casinos in upstate New York could be a great magnet to bring the New York City traffic up. They now go to New Jersey, they go to Connecticut – why don’t we bring them to upstate New York?”

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State legislators returned to Albany today, and Southern Brooklyn’s pols went with a message: when it comes to casinos, location matters.

Several legislators joined the newly-formed Stop the Coney Island Casino organization on Monday to say that Coney Island is off limits as a casino venue, and that any attempt to change the state constitution to expand gambling will be opposed unless it includes specific locations.

“[The proposed legislation to expand gambling] must include specifically where the casinos are being planned,” said Assemblyman William Colton during the press conference. “Then we will know whether we can support or oppose such legislation. Because if we do not include that in what is going to be passed … we will be leaving the decision of whether Coney Island gets a casino not to the people of Coney Island, and not the people of Brooklyn, but to special interests.”

The press conference at the Kings Bay Y (3495 Nostrand Avenue) was the formal debut of Stop the Coney Island Casino, and featured Assemblymembers Colton and Steven Cymbrowitz, State Senator Eric Adams, Councilman David Greenfield and 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan. The bi-lingual press conference drew Russian-language media outlets and about 40 attendees from Russian-American and Russian-Jewish organizations. The organizations and elected officials said they stand united in opposing a Coney Island casino, claiming it will increase crime rates, depress the community’s economy and obliterate quality of life.

“If you want to see crime go up, if you want to see traffic go up, if you want to see small businesses go out of business, then support the casino,” said Councilman Greenfield. “But if you care about the community, join together with us and stop the Coney Island casino.”

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