disagreement between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan legislators would kill his plan to fast track a Las Vegas-style casino in New York City, according to the New York Post.
The Gov.'s push to move the process up by two years, from 2023 to 2021, has sunk due to strong objections from Manhattan lawmakers, the prestigious newspaper reported, which in March had unveiled that Wynn Resorts, Bally’s Corp. and Las Vegas Sands were working on the opportunity to compete for a New York City-area casino license as soon as this year.
“I adamantly oppose any casino in Manhattan,” Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who represents the Upper West Side, told the NY Post. “I believe it would be seriously detrimental to the residential and commercial quality of Manhattan.”
State legislators had been working for months to get around Manhattan’s objections, including by crafting a bill to give Manhattan officials the right to decide for themselves on any casino license proposals that came their way. But Gov. Cuomo reportedly did not like the idea of giving the island borough special rights, and the measure could not pass without it.
Gov. Cuomo believed that making an exception for Manhattan would only open the door to special requests in other budget negotiations. And he is against the idea of home rule, where a county can circumvent state laws, the NY Post reports.
Freeman Klopott, a spokeswoman for the New York State division of the budget, suggested the bill could be revived again this year: “With the influx of federal funding, there was less of an imperative to change the status quo, however, we are continuing to work with the Legislature to see if there is a path forward this year.”
However, Sen. Joe Addabbo, chair of the Racing and Wagering Committee, told the NY Post that “there’s mere discussion at this point. There’s nothing really going on.”
The most recent effort to push the bill came in May after the budget was already passed, but it failed and the campaign has come to a complete standstill since, according to the newspaper.
In 2013, a constitutional amendment authorized seven New York gambling casinos. The four upstate casinos were licensed first and a moratorium was placed on the downstate casinos until 2023. Efforts to accelerate the downstate casino licenses had been seen as a potential fix to the state’s pandemic woes. The state expeects to create new jobs and collect roughly $1.5 billion in license fees from the measure.
Two of the three downstate licenses are expected to go straight to gaming properties that already run slot machines in the area: the Resorts World Aqueduct racino in Queens and the MGM Resorts-owned Empire City Casino in Yonkers. The third license would up for competition for companies like Wynn Resorts, Bally’s Corp. and Las Vegas Sands.