Cuomo: NY Indian casinos could face competition

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York's Indian casinos could face competition in their backyards if tribes and the state fail to reach agreements in the coming months.

Governor Cuomo unveiled a comprehensive resort gaming destination plan to create jobs and boost tourism, capitalizing on the economic gains that other states have made through resort gaming.

The plan also details an independent process for the siting of resort gaming destinations, new specific criteria for selecting the gaming operators, and a breakdown on the distribution of revenue in a way that benefits multiple localities, counties and the State.

Under the Governor's plan, upstate New York would be divided into six regions, and three resorts would be bid out. Cuomo said only one resort could be located within a region.

Evaluation Criteria will include:

  • Number of Jobs
  • Amount of Capital Investment (expected floor of $250-$500 million)
  • Amount of Projected Revenue to States and Localities
  • Local Support (Home Rule)
  • Amount of Franchise Fee
  • Vision for Development and Integration with Regional Tourism

The selection criteria are the minimum threshold for any project to be
approved in a region even if no competing projects are offered. Winning
projects would be given a five-year exclusive period with no additional
casinos cited in New York City or Upstate. Racinos would be able to
compete as well, and all contracts with horse tracks would be honored.

Recipients of Revenue Distribution:

  • 10% for the host community
  • 10% for counties in the region
  • 80% for the state

The administration's talks with the Senecas, Mohawks and Oneidas come as Cuomo tries to bring three casinos in yet-to-be identified locations upstate. Three of the six upstate regions Cuomo is looking at already have Indian casinos. Cuomo says Thursday he's working with the tribes to resolve existing issues, like revenue sharing with the state.
Cuomo says they won't try to site a casino near casinos run by tribes in good standing with the state.
A public referendum to change New York's constitution to allow non-Indian casinos could be on the ballot as early as November.

Cuomo says the revenue would be used for state education aid above the annual formula, property tax relief, and reimbursement for local costs.

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