Last Tuesday, New Yorkers approved a constitutional amendment to permit commercial casino gambling in the state, authorizing up to four “destination resort casinos” in three Upstate regions as part of a plan meant to bring jobs to economically distressed upstate regions.
While 57 percent of those voting on the proposal approved it, large parts of Upstate (including Western New York and the Capital Region/Saratoga area) did not support the measure.
Gov. Cuomo pushed the proposal, arguing that casino development will create jobs, lure tourists upstate and enable New York to recapture some of the gambling revenue that now goes to other states.
In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said:
“The passage of Proposal One is a big win for local governments, school districts, and taxpayers across New York State. This vote will keep hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year in neighboring states right here in New York, while increasing revenue for local schools, lowering property tax taxes, and bringing proper regulation to the industry. This vote builds on the landmark agreements we reached with Native American tribes this year, ending expensive court battles and unnecessary discord and restoring hundreds of millions of dollars to local governments. Since taking office, my administration has focused on reviving the state’s economy, and today’s vote will further pave the way for the creation of new jobs, construction, and increased tourism in communities across the state.”
The expected next steps include filling the three vacancies on the state’s Gaming Commission, and the Gaming Commission appointing a five-person siting board made up of independent financial experts, economists and real estate professionals. In early 2014, the siting board is expected to put out a request for applications, and will analyze the bids before making recommendations to the Gaming Commission.