N.Y. casino plan: a moving target

June 14, 2013 10:39 am

With just days to go before the legislative session ends in Albany, lawmakers and lobbyists there are still fighting over how many casinos to enable.

First Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed seven casinos. Then it was three. The latest odds place the number of casinos between four or five – with more to follow. Perhaps Cuomo & Co. should take bets from public.

Or just pick a number out of the hat. That would amount to the same amount of thought and analysis going into how many casino New York needs or can support. The process has nothing to do with policy or economics. It is all about the politics of trying to please competing gambling interests.

The same lack of analysis is going into setting the tax rate for the casinos, which is also a moving target as the deadline approaches for a second vote – which will likely occur late at night on the last day of the session with little debate – to change the state Constitution to allow commercial casinos. Such basics as the number of casinos and tax rate should have been decided long ago and not left up to last-minute backroom negotiations. But as is often the case, gambling legislation is done in secret and on the fly with little thought beyond who has the most juice to get what they want.

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