Governor Cuomo Advances Gambling Initiative; Yonkers Left Out

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this week signed the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, a new law that, pending approval of a referendum this fall, will establish four destination gaming resorts in Upstate New York.

The governor said he hopes the plan will boost tourism and economic development in communities across the region. Under the casino gaming plan outlined in the new law, all localities in the state will share in increased education aid, or lower property taxes, no matter where the casinos are located.

“Our focus has been to bring jobs and boost local economies in Upstate New York, where decades of decline have taken their toll in our communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new law will bring the state one step closer to establishing world-class destination gaming resorts that will attract tourists to Upstate New York and support thousands of good paying jobs as well as new revenue for local businesses. For too many years, gaming revenue has left New York for our neighboring states. Today, we are putting New York State in a position to have those dollars spent here in our communities, which will benefit our local economies and tourism industries, as well as support education and property tax relief.”

Destination gaming resorts will be selected competitively based on the economic development impact of the resort. Destination gaming resorts are authorized in three regions of the state: the Hudson Valley–Catskill area, the Capital District-Saratoga area, and the Central-Southern Tier. One region may have up to two casinos if determined by the state siting board. No destination gaming resorts can be authorized in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, New York City, or Long Island. There will be a seven-year exclusivity period during which no further destination gaming resorts will be licensed by the state.

The tax rate on slot machines will be equal to the tax rate of existing video lottery gaming facilities within each region which currently ranges from 37 percent to 45 percent depending on the region. The tax rate on table games will be 10 percent.