Hochul’s bad bet: Don’t expand full-blown casinos to New York City

·2 min read

The 2001 promise, pushed by monied gambling interests and their loyal legislator lackeys, that video slot racinos would deliver a jolt of economic growth around depressed horse tracks has proven a bust. The 2013 promise, again pushed by monied gambling interests and their loyal legislator lackeys, that amending the state Constitution to open four casinos would promote job creation and boost tax revenues around depressed upstate areas has also proven a bust.

With that lousy track record, we are offering heavy odds that Gov. Hochul’s 2022 promise, yet again pushed by monied gambling interests and their loyal legislator lackeys, that three more full-fledged casinos — this time likely in New York City and its suburbs — will deliver economic growth is also a guaranteed bust.

Like a gambling addict who blows the rent money and bankrupts himself on just one more sure-to-win wager, the state is hooked on this vice that victimizes people unable to resist the temptation to come out on top. But opening more casinos in an already saturated region doesn’t create economic growth. It does create more problem gamblers.

Albany has already authorized daily fantasy sports betting, in clear violation of the state Constitution, as determined by a trial judge and an appellate bench. The state’s highest court will hear the case again in three weeks.

Now the state Gaming Commission, pushed by the Legislature, has gone even further, becoming a 50% partner in mobile sports betting under the phony claim that the wagering is conducted “at” the upstate casinos, because while the user may be in Brooklyn, he is logging into a server sitting on the property of the casino. Really.

In her budget book, Hochul tries making the case for more gambling by saying, “For the first weekend, these operators took in $150 million in wagers, over 650,000 unique player accounts were utilized, and more than 17 million geolocations were confirmed.” We asked the Gaming Commission for the official stats, but they don’t yet exist. Where’d that data come from?