Editorial: Expansion of gaming pushed as quick fix for New York

The three regions where the first casino licenses will be awarded are shown in this map from the New York Gaming Facility Location Board.

The New York Times doesn't think three commercial casinos and two slot machine parlors will help the state's economy:
Slot parlors are a wretched deal for most communities, and it is even more appalling to see them used as life support for Long Island’s Off-Track Betting Corporations, which are patronage schemes tied to an ailing horse-racing industry. Nassau County, having been run into a financial ditch under Republican leadership, is under a financial control board and is desperate for cash. Suffolk’s Off-Track Betting Corporation, which is emerging from bankruptcy, is similarly itching for a cash infusion.

Taken together, the three upstate casinos and the two Long Island slot parlors mean that the glut of gambling facilities in the Northeast is about to get much, much worse. The regional gambling market is already brutally competitive. Four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos have closed, and a fifth filed for bankruptcy last month. The big tribal casinos in Connecticut are faltering. There are already five tribal casinos in upstate New York and nine slot parlors at state racetracks. The idea that five new facilities can bring in sustainable revenue seems the stuff of fantasy.

What Long Island and upstate New York need is a government that nurtures responsible growth while also tending to the interests of the working class, the elderly and the poor. Instead, its elected officials are addicted to quick fixes and seemingly painless revenue streams. Legalized gambling is one of those illusions, pushed as a source of economic development by politicians who can’t come up with anything better.

Get the Story:
Editorial: A Sucker’s Game for New York (The New York Times 12/20)

Also Today:
In Catskills, the Long Wait for a Casino Nears an End (The New York Times 12/19)

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