In Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators are looking for ways to close a gap in next year’s budget. Well-funded gambling interests are arguing that more gambling will solve the state’s revenue problems.
Under current law, there is a moratorium on new casino development in New York City until 2023. However, multiple gambling companies are urging the state to jettison that moratorium to allow them to develop or expand casinos in the Big Apple. Former Gov. David Paterson has even spoken out in favor of New York City casino expansion.
Furthermore, there is pressure on the state to expand access to sports gambling. If implemented, a proposed state regulation will allow sports gambling at New York’s four upstate casinos. However, gambling interests are not satisfied; instead, they propose to allow online sports gambling on electronic devices.
Surprisingly, Gov. Cuomo—who has been a determined advocate for gambling expansion—is opposed to both expedited New York City casino development and online sports gambling. The Governor has asserted that accelerating the timetable for new casino development in New York City would harm the four upstate casinos that have opened in recent years. Also, the Governor argues that online sports gambling is unlikely to yield much tax revenue to the state.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has different reasons for opposing expedited New York City casinos development and online sports gambling. We believe that gambling is an addictive and self-destructive behavior, and that it is the opposite of good government for the state to enrich itself from such behavior. However, we are pleased at Gov. Cuomo’s opposition, regardless of his reasons. As the old saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.