Cuomo Urges Slow Roll On Downstate Casinos

To put it mildly, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF) doesn’t agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo very often. Recently, however, the Governor said something that made sense.

Last week, reported that Gov. Cuomo “urged caution” in the face of pressure from the gambling industry to expand Vegas-style casino gambling in the New York City metropolitan area. Currently, the state is barred from granting any new casino licenses until 2023. However, the gambling industry is pressuring the state to accelerate this timetable. Specifically, Empire City and Resorts World in Queens desire to expand their facilities to include privately-owned slot machines, sports betting, and live table games. According to the Governor, “‘These are complicated issues, and I am skeptical about quick, knee-jerk reactions to doing something like that, especially if it’s conditioned on money.’”

Gov. Cuomo is correct to be concerned about further casino expansion. The four upstate casinos that have been built since the Governor successfully championed a 2013 casino amendment to the New York Constitution have, by and large, failed to meet financial expectations. The fact that the northeastern United States is saturated with casinos is well documented. More importantly, casinos prey upon the vices, vulnerabilities, and addictions of their customers to enrich themselves. Gov. Cuomo’s newfound reluctance to push for more casino development is surprising, but we hope it continues.