ALBANY, NY – Governor
Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff
Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced an agreement on the
Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, which will establish four
destination gaming resorts in Upstate New York and boost tourism and economic
development in the region.
agreement with the Legislature would establish world-class destination gaming
resorts to attract tourists to Upstate New York, generating economic activity
for local businesses and creating thousands of good paying jobs where we need
it most," Governor Cuomo said. "This legislation is a major step
forward in our efforts to both capitalize on this economic development and
tourism potential and end the trend of letting neighboring states with
legalized gaming take revenue that should be going to our schools. I look
forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to make
this economic development 'game plan' a reality."
Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "This agreement paves
the way for critically important economic development to take place throughout
Upstate New York and will build on our efforts to revitalize communities,
invest in schools and provide statewide property tax relief. I thank the
Governor, the Speaker, and Senate Racing Chairman John Bonacic — who was
instrumental in achieving this agreement — for their hard work. This plan, if
approved by voters, will greatly benefit Upstate New York and all regions of
Majority Coalition Co-Leader and Independent Democratic Conference Leader
Jeffrey D. Klein said, "We need to provide upstate and central New York
communities with every opportunity to stimulate their local economies and build
a long-term growth strategy. If the people of New York agree that this is a fair
and smart way of doing so, these regions will be provided with one of the most
promising opportunities in years. Critically, this plan presents a clear
opportunity to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding
for our schools and our children. I am pleased that this agreement establishes
the sound, non-political criteria for resort selection that New Yorkers
deserve. I commend my colleagues for uniting around a strong proposal that
elevates economic development, funding for our schools, and local property tax
relief above all else."
Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "Expanding casino gaming has the potential to
provide an economic boost for several upstate regions, create new jobs and
increase our state's viability as a true vacation destination. Other states
have experienced the benefits of gaming and now voters will have the
opportunity to decide."
Bonacic said, "For fifty years, the Catskills have sought gaming as a way
to grow our tourism based economy. The gaming bill can create thousands of
upstate jobs. New Yorkers now have a choice — keep our money in State creating
jobs, improving education, and providing resort entertainment experiences; or
help Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Now it's up to the people."
Chair of the
Racing and Wagering Committee and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow said, "Our
agreement to bring casinos to the Catskills, the Southern Tier and the Capital
Region is good for the local economy, the state economy and the people of New
York. It will put hundreds of New Yorkers to work and help solidify the entire
state as a tourist destination for people across the country. I commend my
Assembly colleagues, the Governor and the Senate on their ability to come
together to make this exciting idea a reality in our state."
legislation includes these key details:
of Destination Gaming Resorts:
- The legislation authorizes four upstate
destination gaming resorts to enhance tourism development. 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 Eastern 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, New York City, or Long Island. There will
be a 7-year exclusivity period during which no further destination gaming
resorts will be licensed by the State.
- The State Gaming Commission will oversee
regulation of destination gaming resorts.
- The Gaming Commission will appoint a
siting board of individuals with expertise in finance and development, which
will determine the required minimum amount of capital expenditures and license
fee required of a destination gaming resort applicant in each region and make
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% to
45% depending on the region.
tax rate on table games will be 10%.
payments to the racing industry for purses and breeding will be maintained.
will be no destination gaming resorts in regions with tribal exclusivity
- The board will be required to evaluate
destination gaming resort applications based on specific criteria: 70 percent
of the decision on siting a destination gaming resort will be based on economic
activity and business development factors; 20 percent on local impact and
siting factors; and 10 percent on workforce factors.
support for the Resort application must be demonstrated as a threshold
- The Gaming Commission is authorized to
investigate the suitability of the gaming license applicant, including
character and financial stability, and sets criteria for licensing individuals
and businesses employed by or doing business with the resort.
- Destination gaming resorts and all
related service industries will be strictly and comprehensively regulated by
the Gaming Commission. The minimum gambling age in destination gaming resorts
will be 21, and no smoking will be authorized in the four destination gaming
Localities Benefiting from Education Aid Increases:
- 10% of the State’s tax revenues will be
split equally between the host municipality and the host county. 10% of the
State’s tax revenues will go to other counties in the region of the destination
gaming resort to provide tax relief or educational assistance. 80% of the
State’s tax revenues will be used statewide for elementary and secondary
education or property tax relief. The educational aid will be additive and will
not be part of the State’s existing education formulae.
- If the gaming referendum passes, 10% of
the net gaming revenue retained by the State from Indian gaming facilities will
be distributed to counties in each respective exclusivity zone that do not
otherwise receive a share of exclusivity revenues.
Problem Gambling and Cheating:
- Funds for problem gambling will be added
through the imposition of a $500 annual fee on all slot machines and table
games. Destination gaming resorts will be required to develop comprehensive
problem gambling programs, and part of the decision for siting a destination
gaming resort will be determined by the quality of the applicant’s problem
gambling program. All destination gaming resorts will be required to have
exclusion policies, and the statute provides for individuals to exclude
themselves from the destination gaming resorts.
- New categories of gaming specific crime
legislation are added to prevent cheating at destination gaming resorts. Cyber
sweepstakes cafes are specifically made criminal.
- A state gaming inspector general’s
position is authorized to prevent corruption at the Gaming Commission.
with Indian Gaming:
- The exclusivity of Indian gaming zones
- The legislation authorizes Nassau and
Suffolk OTB to establish one video lottery gaming facility each at an OTB site
with a maximum of 1,000 machines at each site.
- In the event that the gaming referendum
does not pass, the Gaming Commission is authorized to competitively site up to
four video lottery gaming facilities, one per region, in the Capital District,
Eastern Southern Tier, Catskills, and Nassau County, based on revenue
generation and economic development criteria. Additional video lottery gaming
facilities in New York will secure new funding for educational assistance.
Source: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Press Office