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Up on the Board: NY casinos, NJ tunnel, and Suffolk health clinics

A view of the inside of part of

A view of the inside of part of the Resorts World Casino that opens up Friday, October 28, 2011. After a decade of debate, delay and scandal, video slot machines will start whirring Friday in New York City at Aqueduct race track. More than 4,000 video slot machines and other casino-like amenities will greet gamblers at the Queens horse track a short distance from John F. Kennedy International Airport and millions of local workers and residents. (Oct. 26, 2011) (Handout photo) Credit: Resorts World Casino

We’re taking a look at the State Legislature’s casino decision for Sunday. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to build casinos in two phases, five years apart, doesn’t make sense to the editorial board. For one thing, it’s important for New York to act quickly if it wants to capture a share of the casino market. Western Massachusetts and the Philadelphia area are planning casinos too. Also, concern that including a downstate casino will rob upstate of gamblers isn’t realistic. A New York City casino would draw national and international travelers. The potential audience upstate is entirely different.

Editorial page editor Rita Ciolli noted that the limited gambling facility at Aqueduct, which was recently renovated, is already drawing people who might have gone to Connecticut or Pennsylvania instead. “When you think of the ladies on the bus … why would they travel when they can go to Queens?” she said.

“Plus, the trip home is really depressing when you lose,” board member Lane Filler quipped.

Also, the board likes the plan to use $185 million in federal money for superstorm Sandy recovery to kick-start new rail tunnels to New Jersey. That project had appeared dead before now, and this plan shows what good can come from disaster. Developing Manhattan’s West Side will be important for Penn Station commuters.

Finally, we’re supporting a plan by Suffolk County to begin selling its health clinics to a private operator. The argument against it – that costs will rise for patients – isn’t persuasive. Health care costs are rising across the board.

To voice an opinion on any of the above, please fill in a comment in the section below, or email letters@newsday.com.

 

Up on the Board is the editorial board's blog about what we just discussed at our weekday morning meeting. These meetings are where we talk about the news of the day and hash out our positions for the opinion sections of Newsday, Newsday Westchester and amNew York.

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