Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

November 6, 2013

NY rolls into casino business after voter approval

Even before polls closed on what would be a resounding victory authorizing seven Las Vegas-style casinos in New York, confident developers were making plans to announce specifics of the splashy hotels and gambling palaces they hoped to build in places like the Catskills that badly need an economic jolt.

Tuesday's vote, which passed by a 57-43 percent margin according to unofficial returns, sets in motion a heated contest to select casino operators who will have a hand in selecting sites for the first four upstate casinos.

One would be in the Southern Tier near Binghamton, two in the Catskills and Mid-Hudson Valley region, and another in the Saratoga Springs-Albany area. A New York City casino would be built in seven years and possibly more could be built in the suburbs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Gaming Commission will prepare requests for proposals from casino operators. Casino complexes will include hotels and other facilities to make them what Cuomo calls destination resorts. That process will take months and could be delayed further by lawsuits challenging the process

The Nevele Investors casino resort developer sought to be the first in line, announcing even before the polls closed that it would hold a teleconference Wednesday to discuss plans it has, likely in the Catskills.

Cuomo hopes to use the casino plans as part of his 2014 campaign to show he has addressed a major 2010 campaign promise to turn around the upstate economy.

"Since taking office, my administration has focused on reviving the state's economy, and today's vote will further pave the way for the creation of new jobs, construction, and increased tourism in communities across the state," said Cuomo who is seeking re-election in 2014.

He worked closely with the lobbying group NY Jobs Now which ran his automatic robo-calls beginning Monday, urging approval of casino gambling that had long split New Yorkers in polls. The group of top business leaders, union leaders and local government officials waged a multimillion dollar campaign.

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