News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
NY legislative leaders not sold on Cuomo casino plan
State legislative leaders aren’t embracing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to limit new casinos to three upstate locations -- and say Long Island and New York City should be in the mix.
Cuomo huddled with Senate and Assembly leaders for about 90 minutes Wednesday to discuss casinos and other issues. Afterward they said talks on an expansion of gambling were still “evolving.”
But legislators made it clear they aren’t sold yet on restricting new casinos to upstate sites only, as the governor outlined in his state budget proposal.
Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said a possible casino on Long Island “will be part of the discussion” -- and specifically mentioned Belmont racetrack.
“I know that Belmont is one of the areas where there have been no VLTs, unlike other tracks throughout the state,” Skelos said, referring to video lottery terminals, a type of video slot machine available at other thoroughbred and harness racing tracks, including Aqueduct. “That has to be part of the discussion.”
Skelos even said the legislators might want to approve more casinos than Cuomo has proposed.
“Could it be more than three? Sure,” Skelos told reporters after leaders’ meeting.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has said “less densely populated” areas of New York City such as Willets Point, Coney Island and around Aqueduct Race Track should be considered, too.