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Another group that could have bankrolled a "no" vote on authorizing new casinos in New York has been defused.
The New York Gaming Association, which represents “racinos," announced today it supports Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s gambling expansion plan.
Racinos are the term for horse racing tracks that also feature video slot machines (also known as video lottery terminals or VLT). There are nine racinos in the state, including at Aqueduct Race Track in Queens and Yonkers Raceway.
The plan agreed to by Cuomo and legislative leaders calls for authorizing four upstate casinos and two VLT parlors on Long Island. Just a week earlier, Cuomo’s proposal included ban on New York City casinos, which would have prevented Genting, which runs video slots at Aqueduct, from ever being able to expand into a full casino. The Gaming Association announced it would oppose that plan.
But the ban on NYC casinos has been deleted from the bill. Thursday, the Gaming Association said it “will throw full support” behind the new plan. Lawmakers expect to ratify it Friday.
For any casinos to go forward, voters this fall will have to support a referendum to amend the state constitution to allow non-Indian-run casinos in the state.
The Gaming Association as well as the Oneida and Seneca nations – who already operate lucrative casinos upstate – could have gotten behind a “no” vote on the referendum. In the last month, Cuomo struck revenue sharing deals with the tribes, in exchange. The agreement also gives or maintains regional exclusivity to the nation’s casinos.