With state money tight, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a plan to create the world’s largest convention center at Aqueduct financed by the operator of the track’s new casino facility.
Genting New York would finance the convention center as part of a broader plan by the governor to expand casinos on non-Indian lands in the state.
“We have long flirted and dallied with another potential economic engine—casino gaming—and when it comes to gaming, we have been in a state of denial,” Cuomo said in his State of the State address Jan. 4. "It’s time we confronted reality."
The governor repeated his plans to push this year for first passage of a constitutional amendment to expand gambling to permit Las Vegas-style casinos. He has not named potential locations, but racetracks with current VLT operations are pressing to be part of the expansion plans.
If the Legislature passes a casino resolution this year and next, the matter could go before voters as soon as November 2013.
Cuomo said the plan by Genting, which is also pressing for rights to offer more gambling beyond its 5,000 VLTs, would amount to an overall $4 billion private sector investment at Aqueduct. The plan would also include 3,000 hotel rooms.
The state already has 29,000 electronic gambling devices at tracks and existing Indian casinos, and is surrounded by states and Canadian provinces with gambling competition, Cuomo noted.
“Let’s amend the constitution so that we can do gaming right,’’ the governor said.