Democrat & Chronicle
The two of us represent business and labor; we don’t always agree, but we’re working together in a group called NY Jobs Now to talk to New Yorkers about Proposition 1 this November to authorize limited new gaming in our state.
Should New York get in the gaming business? In reality, we’re already in — and have been for years. But New Yorkers have been missing out on the opportunities and benefits that come with it.
While New York has “racinos” — limited electronic lottery games adjacent to horse racetracks — and five Indian tribal casinos, we’re the only major state in the Northeast without commercial casino gaming.
Meanwhile, our neighbors in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts have been capitalizing on the jobs and tax revenue from full casino gaming. Last year, Pennsylvania’s gaming revenue totaled a record $1.5 billion.
We can turn this around by voting yes on Proposition 1 to permit four new destination gaming resorts. This alone would create 10,000 construction and permanent jobs — the development of an industry that builds a foundation for success.
And Proposition 1 shares the revenue from these resorts with every county in the state, regardless of whether they’re hosting a new facility. By law, 80 percent of the revenue will go statewide for school aid and real property tax relief. Ten percent will be split between a new casino’s host community and county; 10 percent will go to surrounding counties in the region.
Counties in the Finger Lakes and western New York would see $50.4 million in annual unrestricted local government aid.
Existing casino jobs in the Greater Rochester area will be protected because none of the new resorts will open nearby. Monroe County alone would see $15.5 million each year.
We understand and appreciate that some people still have concerns about expanding gaming. But strict new measures to provide unprecedented oversight protections are also included as part of this act.
Heather C. Briccetti is president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State. Mario Cilento is president of the New York State AFL-CIO.