New York Post Move over, Vegas and Atlantic City.
Thanks to a sky-high 68 percent tax rate, New York state is by far the nation’s biggest jackpot winner at its nine racinos — collecting $620 million in revenues during the first half of this year.
That’s nearly double the $329 million combined that Vegas and AC casinos generated for their home states of New Jersey and Nevada, according to the New York Gaming Association.
The Resorts World racino at Aqueduct in Queens and Empire City Casino in Yonkers, the two local slot parlors, are the biggest cash cows. But there’s a big reason for the disparity: Nevada only imposes a 6.75 percent tax on its casinos and Jersey 8 percent.
New York isn’t the only state that charges high rates. Pennsylvania imposes a 55 percent levy on slot revenues and Rhode Island upward of 70 percent. In New York, nearly half of gambling revenues is dedicated to education, and the rest goes to aiding the horse- racing industry and other government-related costs.
“Gaming facilities in New York operate at one of the highest rates in the country, and that means more money for education,’’ said James Featherstonhaugh, head of the Gaming Association, the lobbying group for the nine racinos. “It’s a win for taxpayers, who reap the benefits of a business that is also helping to keep the property taxes down.”
But critics who have long complained about New York’s high taxes said it was bizarre for the racino industry to brag it’s paying extraordinarily high levies.
“It’s unconscionable that New York taxes any business that high. This just further identifies that New York is the highest-taxed state in the nation,” said state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, a gambling opponent.
One gambling expert called New York’s high racino tax rate a double-edged sword.
“When you have a high tax rate, you don’t get the kind of capital investment to build hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. You don’t have the return on investment to do that,” said Mike Eadington, a professor at the University of Nevada.
The racinos offer only slot machines. New York is considering whether to legalize Vegas-style casinos, which include live table games.