Upstate New York racetrack-based casinos are stepping up efforts to stop a full-blown commercial casino from opening in the Finger Lakes region.
The head of the horsemen's group at New York's Finger Lakes racetrack said the facility could be forced to close in the coming years unless state officials take action to protect it from a new commercial casino.
New York state, in its greatest expansion of gambling, has selected three winning bidders to operate full commercial casinos in separate areas of the state but rejected proposals by Genting Americas and Churchill Downs, Inc.
New York lawmakers gave final approval June 20 to a bill that will allow racetrack-based casinos to stay open until breakfast time and permit more free-play offerings to gamblers in a bid to boost revenues.
The formal bidding process for New York's new commercial casino developments begins March 31 when a state casino siting panel will release a request for application from developers.
The first three members of a casino siting board have been named by the New York State Gaming Commission, a move that starts the clock ticking for when the state will ask developers to bid on the first four casino projects.
The company that operates a casino at New York's Aqueduct Race Track is partnering with Florida racing and breeding interests to construct a "waterfront slots only Thoroughbred inspired resort" in Miami.
Interests representing racing, real estate, and casino industries opened their wallets wide open to pay for lobbyists and campaign donations during a final frenzy when New York officials approved casino expansion plans.
Legislation legalizing commercial casino gambling in New York was introduced June 19 at the state Capitol. The legislation, expected to be voted on soon, would need approval by voters in a statewide referendum this fall.
Three large areas of upstate New York are now out of the running for commercial casino development after Gov. Andrew Cuomo struck a deal with the Seneca Nation of Indians to resolve a four-year-old dispute with the state.
New York officials are all but certain to put off final negotiations on a play to add up to seven casinos in New York until later in the legislative session.
New York's racetracks say they contributed more in various tax and revenue-sharing funding during the first six months of the year than the casinos on the Las Vegas strip and Atlantic City combined.
State legislators have tentatively agreed to create a New York Gaming Commission to oversee all aspects of gambling in New York, including horse racing, lotteries and Indian-run and racetrack-based casinos.
In response to proposals for expansion of casino gambling beyond the existing facilities at racetracks, representatives of the state's racing and agricultural industries have joined forces.
Genting New York officials, after turning over $380 million in licensing fee payments to the state, said they are prepared to quickly start construction on the Aqueduct casino project.
The governor of New York suggested Aug. 26 there are no guarantees a decision will be made soon in the selection of a developer for the long-stalled Aqueduct casino project.
A New York state government panel said Belmont Park can support a sprawling casino, hotel, retail, and housing development to bring jobs and money to the state.
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