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Cuomo says upstate casinos need exclusivity period

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo raised the possibility Monday that downstate areas could eventually be part of the state’s casino expansion – if upstate gambling halls had exclusivity for at least a few years.

Last year, lawmakers completed the first of two steps needed to amend the state constitution to allow up to seven new non-Indian-run casinos. As part of his budget proposal this year, Cuomo proposed limiting casinos, for now, to three upstate sites to be determined. Legislators raised doubts about the plan - signalling that the casino issue could be postponed for later in the 2013 session.

Cuomo has said a downstate casino would make it difficult to attract investors upstate. Delaying downstate casinos for a certain period might alleviate those concerns, the Democrat said.

“The question is: How long a period of exclusivity do the upstate franchises have?” he told reporters. “There's a big difference between zero or five or seven or three.”

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