NY’s Second Attempt At Initiating Comprehensive Gambling Study

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An ambitious review of the gambling landscape of New York will take longer than originally planned as state officials resume their search for a company to conduct the analysis.

Industry insiders and state legislators anticipate the study will prompt a shake-up of the state’s gambling rules and regulations, potentially leading to three casinos in the New York City area being developed.

But the changes could be delayed as work on the study scheduled for completion at the end of the year, has fallen behind schedule for more than a month. The State Gaming Commission revealed on Tuesday that the original timeline was being scrapped as it launched a new search for a company to conduct the review.

State Gaming Commission Executive Director Rob Williams explained the impetus for a second round of proposals:”We were concerned that the aggressive timeline might result in compromised data and determined speed was less valuable than accuracy, especially given the intention that the product might be used to advise future policy determinations.”

The initial plan to complete the project in four months was considered unrealistic by gambling community members, who noted that the broad review included casinos, sports betting, horse racing, and off-track betting corporations.

The commission believes that the new six-month timeline is manageable, with work portions due in stages and a final report due 1st June.

The study represents a state change that did not pursue a similar analysis before introducing video gaming terminals in 2002 or 2013 with the adoption of casinos in the Las Vegas style.

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., a Queens Democrat who is the point person on gambling issues in the chamber, is not disturbed by a delay if credible information is produced by the study. “If we don’t use the study for the budget but we use it for the end of the legislative session, that is fine,” Addabbo said.

By April, the state wants the review to be done “substantially” by analysing existing casinos, the ramifications of issuing three new casino licenses, and the potential online gambling market, including sports wagering.

According to Uri Clinton, president of Empire City Casino in Yonkers, who is struggling to get a license to run live-table games, the results could be used to speed up licensing for new casinos and provide tax relief to upstate casinos. “Clearly, the population upstate … doesn’t allow the support of the tax rates there,” Clinton said. “The question now becomes, how can the industry help itself?”

He anticipates the study will show that introducing casinos into the New York City area will allow the state to lower tax rates for upstate casinos, such as Schenectady’s Rivers Casino & Resort, and generate higher levels of state tax revenue.

Addabbo hopes that the report can be used to expand sports gambling beyond the casinos of the upstate. “I’m all in on mobile sports betting … I hope that’s part of it,” he said.

 

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