State Senate favors video slots at JFK

The state Senate has expressed support of video The state Senate has expressed support of video slots at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick, 2012

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ALBANY -- The State Senate is betting visitors to Kennedy Airport will want to take their chances on playing video slots while waiting for their flights.

The innovative budget proposal would provide the state about $40 million a year, a Senate spokesman said Saturday.

But the idea faces long odds with the full legislature and with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who just last year made a big, politically dicey bid for more casinos.

The Senate proposal would make video slots available to JFK visitors through their iPads -- there would be no actual machines in the airport, the Senate's Republican conference confirmed. The video slots could be accessed only beyond TSA checkpoints in departure terminals.

That provision would aim to block gamblers from descending on the airport just to play the virtual one-armed bandits.

A Cuomo spokesman Saturday called the proposal "a non-starter."

The Senate wouldn't comment further on the plan tucked inside their budget resolution, which passed in the Senate early Friday. The proposal -- made by the Senate's majority coalition, which includes the Independent Democratic Conference -- was first reported by the New York Post.

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The Assembly's majority Democratic conference would not comment yesterday.

Cuomo and the legislature gained voter approval last November to authorize four of seven Las Vegas-style casinos this year. But that referendum also drew a backlash of opposition that many lawmakers and Cuomo would like to avoid in this election year.

Budget resolutions are nonbinding and many such items never even make it into budget negotiations.

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