Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Rolling the Dice Across the State

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NY1’s Bobby Cuza this week is taking a big look at how New York State could be getting as many as four new casinos from the Finger Lakes to the Catskills – as part of a major initiative being pushed by Governor Cuomo.

It’s a money-making proposition for the state but there’s a real question about whether the seemingly bottomless well of gambling money is in danger of going dry. The troubles of four casinos in Atlantic City show that the golden goose can actually die – and there’s real talk that a casino complex could be built in the Meadowlands – less than ten miles from Manhattan,

The casino explosion is a quick fix for state and local governments that are desperately trying to make up for lost federal dollars without raising taxes on their residents. Instead, the casinos are creating a kind of voluntary tax on millions of Americans who are willingly flushing their money away in slot machines in the hopes of hitting a jackpot.

New York is all but entering a modern-day arms race with other states. Wouldn’t New York rather have its residents stay in the state to lose their money rather than travel to Connecticut or New Jersey? It’s a cynical argument and not exactly the kind of economic engine that will get upstate very far in the long run.

Meanwhile, most city residents are unaware about the casino land grab going on in the nearby Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and the state’s Southern Tier. Cuza’s series this week is a good place to start.

Bob Hardt

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