New York politicos simply can’t stop casinos, and their playing dependancy goes to harm common Empire Staters.
The state Gaming Fee OK’d as much as three new venues downstate; Mayor Eric Adams has signaled he needs two within the Massive Apple. And now builders, gaming operators and different fats cats (together with Adams backer Steve Cohen) are racing to land the profitable licenses.
That Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul (who’s taken marketing campaign donations from main gamers throughout the on line casino scramble and has additionally advocated for playing enlargement) are on board with that is New York politics at its worst.
Casinos merely don’t ship the advantages their advocates in authorities declare — and New York’s have been in large bother even earlier than the pandemic slammed them shut.
In 2018 three upstate joints fell $200 million wanting anticipated revenues, for instance (regardless of large guarantees from then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one other on line casino pusher). Certainly, Albany ended up subsidizing in 2017 a racetrack with slots that had its enterprise taken away by new casinos.
That cannibalization downside hit Atlantic Metropolis onerous, too: Its revenues from playing fell by 50% over a decade and despatched 5 of the town’s 14 casinos out of business.
In different phrases, opening extra casinos downstate additionally means much less upstate income.
And don’t ignore enabling playing dependancy, rising crime and different well-established social prices of recent “gaming” institutions.
Plus, casinos successfully levy a regressive tax: Common gamblers are usually poorer. And within the case of land-starved New York Metropolis, they’d take the place of extra worthy growth initiatives.
But extra proof of our officers’ willingness to go to bat for his or her donor buddies relatively than struggle for insurance policies that might actually assist get New York again within the sport.
What would that be? Deliver down taxes (and make that potential by trimming our monstrous state and native budgets); minimize purple tape; let builders construct housing inventory; make the streets secure once more.
Doing that might truly jumpstart the financial system. Huge backroom offers that profit linked builders and gaming czars on the expense of normal Joes are a confirmed unhealthy guess.