Major racino operators in New York have asked the state’s new governor to deep-six a casino deal made by former Governor David Paterson and a Wisconsin-based tribe of Mohican Indians.
Genting New York, which is building the first casino in New York City at Aqueduct, has joined with existing racinos at Yonkers, Monticello, Saratoga, Finger Lakes and Buffalo to oppose the full-fledged casino planned for the Catskill Mountains by the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohicans.
The coalition is warning new Governor Andrew Cuomo that the state could lose $400 million in annual tax revenues by sanctioning the new casino, which would cut into business at the racinos. According to The Bloodhorse, the group has asked the Cuomo administration to “stop the clock” with the U.S. Department of Interior, which otherwise will decide by February 19 whether to sign off on the plan.
In a letter to Cuomo, the group wrote that the compact, “signed and submitted without public input or oversight, poses significant, negative budgetary impacts for New York state that should be carefully re-evaluated.” The group also warned that undue competition could “spell the end of the New York horse racing industry.”
Asked for his response to the appeal, Cuomo said, “I don’t know anything about it.” During the final days of Paterson’s administration, when the deal was brokered, Cuomo had hinted that he would not stand in the way of the Catskills casino.
Of the estimated $407 million in revenue loss, the group of gaming operators said the state will lose $188 million annually for public school funding and $127 million in racetrack commissions. The racing industry would lose an estimated $51 million per year, money that would go to breeding and purse funds. The state lottery, the group concluded, would lose $40 million in racino proceeds.
Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter has written directly to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar saying the deal would be bad public policy and likely unlawful.