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Governor Paterson Proposes Gaming Expansion in New York

On December 30th, 2008, Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. could have wagered on his prediction the state may look to expand gaming as means to produce revenues. During his inauguration, Snyder stated that the Seneca Nation must prepare for stiffer competition in the gambling industry, with New York facing financial trouble troubles that could result in it exploring new options, like expanded gambling to make ends meet. The Seneca Nation owns and manages three casino facilities including the facility in Niagara Falls, another in Salamanca and a third casino facility in Buffalo.

The worsening financial crisis has led to construction being halted at the site, along with more than two hundred job cuts. As part of his executive budget, still to be negotiated by state legislators, Governor David Paterson recently proposed an expansion of video lottery terminals at some horse racing tracks, along with expanded gaming hours. Proposals include placing video lottery terminals at Belmont Park in Long Island, cutting back restrictions on Quick Draw, such as the size of the restaurant that can feature the game, expanding gaming hours for Quick Draw, eliminating time restrictions in 8 video lottery terminal facilities so they can stay open late especially on weekends and holidays and adding more multi-jurisdictional lottery games so they are more larger jackpots given out.

State lottery officials stated that changes are currently being made to make more profits to be allocated towards education. The director of communications for the state lottery, John Charlson, stated that the sole mission of the New York Lottery is to earn profit for education. In the fiscal year 2007-2008, the lottery contributed a total of $2.6 billion to help support education in the state on incoming profits of $7.549 billion-a profit margin of 34.3%.

The $2.6 billion Lottery-Aid-to-Education funding represents more than thirteen percent of total state aid to local districts, which was $19.65 billion in 2007-2008. The State Education Department gives put revenue made by the lottery for education based on the state formula. Charlson He said that the lottery currently earns revenue from the sales of the lottery tickets at some 16,000 retailer locations all over the state and from video lottery terminals. The Seneca Nation officials did not comment on the proposals of the government. Gubernatorial spokesperson Morgan Hook stated that the proposed gambling expansion still needs legislative approval and does not affect an exclusivity compact with the state and the tribe have that stipulates for no gambling competition near the Seneca gaming sites.

State Senator Catharine Young said that the Governor Paterson seeks to earn $500 million more by extended gambling that would include locations in Hamburg and Batavia operating twenty-four hours a day instead of sixteen, along with additional electronic gaming tables like roulette, baccarat, craps and blackjack. She said that she still needs more information on Governor Paterson's proposal before deciding to support or not support the stance of the governor.


03/01/2009 19:40 PM
Davis Coulter