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Author Topic: New York State Gaming Commission speaks out !!  (Read 846 times)
Homestretch
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« on: February 27, 2013, 04:24:10 PM »

INTERESTING READING, AND GREAT INFORMATION !

Expert Roundtable: Casinos and Gambling
Written by City & State on February 27, 2013. Posted in Racing/Wagering.

Robert Williams
Acting Executive Director, New York State Gaming Commission

Q: What are the advantages to merging multiple agencies under one overarching gaming commission? Are there any disadvantages?
RW: As Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said, gambling already exists throughout the state, whether it be at racetracks, Native American casinos, OTBs, lottery locations or bingo halls. Previously the regulation of gaming was split between the Racing and Wagering Board and the Lottery. Video lottery terminal facilities were regulated by the Division of Lottery, while the horse races taking place at the same facilities were regulated by the Racing and Wagering Board. The Gaming Commission puts all oversight of gaming, pari-mutuel wagering, charitable gaming and Lottery all under one roof. Beyond consistent oversight of all aspects of gaming, the merging of the Lottery and the Racing and Wagering Board also creates a more efficient, cost-effective operation. There are no disadvantages.

Q: What would be the best way to decide where to site full-fledged casinos, provided that the constitutional amendment referendum passes?
RW: The governor has called on the nonpolitical Gaming Commission to select the best facilities and sites. Elected officials should not be making the decisions on who should be receiving casino licenses.

Q: Should local governments have control over whether casinos will be allowed in their community?
RW: Gov. Cuomo has stressed that any plan must have local government and community support.

David Skorton
Chair, New York Racing Association Reorganization Board

Q: You are new to horse racing. What’s surprised you most since becoming chair of NYRA’s reorganization board?
DS: There is more urgent work to do than I first anticipated. The exigency of certain issues became clear during our first meeting, which is why I called our second and third meetings at intervals of a month, rather than three months as we had initially scheduled. I’m not here to teach people about thoroughbred racing, but the key reason that I may be of some help in this situation is because I have a long history in governance of nonprofits and public entities, and I think I recognize what needs to be in place for appropriate governance to occur.

Q: What is your top priority?
DS: Arranging and establishing a really excellent senior management team is my No. 1 priority. As previously announced, Ellen McClain, NYRA’s president and chief operating officer and a great help to me in learning about the organization, will step down within the next two months. We’ve … begun the search for a new CEO. … The safety of the human and equine athletes competing at NYRA tracks is another focal point, and we’ve established a new equine veterinary medical director position and begun the search for that individual as well. Beyond these two priorities, we have established a three-year plan to guide the board’s actions.

Q: You have taken steps to make NYRA more transparent. Did you face resistance?
DS: Regaining the public’s trust is critical for NYRA, and transparency is an important part of that, which is why NYRA now operates in compliance with New York State Open Meetings and Freedom of Information laws. The organization’s general philosophy is now to be open. While it takes time to adapt, I’ve met with no serious resistance, and everyone I’ve encountered at NYRA and the board members have been very cooperative, open and helpful through the early stages of this transition.

John Bonacic
Chair, New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering

Q: Should the Legislature have a say in where casinos are located across the state? How would you like to see the siting process play out? Is there a risk of politics getting involved in the process?
JB: The Legislature and governor should define regions where the casinos will go. It is important to define the breadth (or lack thereof) and location of those “regions” to ensure that gaming ends up where it is most needed and can create the most jobs. As to “politics,” it sounds good when some claim the process will be free of politics, but I don’t think voters will believe it, nor should they. With a seven-member board appointed by four politicians (the governor, speaker and Senators Skelos and Klein), politics is inherently involved no matter how much one may try and claim it is not. The key is to have a transparent process and get the best “bang for the buck” in terms of licensing fees, labor protections, and to try and locate casinos in traditional resort destinations.

Q: Could the governor’s “phase one” plan for three upstate casinos make it easier for an amendment to pass in a public referendum?
JB: Phasing the issuance of the effective date of casino licenses makes sense, but I prefer to identify where the casinos will go before the election—even if the actual casinos are phased in over a number of years. I think voters would be more comfortable knowing what communities are impacted before they vote. In fact, I think if you don’t explain where the casinos will be located, voters may reject the referendum due to the uncertainty.

Q: Should casino gambling be kept out of New York City?
JB: There should be a casino at Aqueduct. Due to the success of Genting, the returns to education have been outstanding, and will only get better with table games there.

Q: Should local governments have control over whether casinos will be allowed in their community?
JB: They do. Zoning and site plan review are the methods of local control.

Gary Pretlow
Chair, New York State Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering

Q: Should the Legislature have a say in where casinos are located across the state?
GP: Yes. Every Assembly member knows what is a good “fit” for their district, thus the Legislature should have some say in casino placement.

Q: How would you like to see the siting process play out? Is there a risk of politics getting involved in the process?
GP: There is always a risk of politics getting involved in every process in Albany. I do not want to micromanage the decision as to where casinos are placed, but the overall area should be looked at by the Legislature. With regards to block and lot numbers, I do not think that is within the Legislature’s purview. That would be negotiated with the Gaming Commission.

Q: Could the governor’s “phase one” plan for three upstate casinos make it easier for an amendment to pass in a public referendum?
GP: The governor’s current plan makes it more difficult for not only a referendum [to pass] but also for potential casino operators to enter the process of opening a casino in upstate New York, because it leaves open where the other four casinos are going to be located. Having an idea of the general geographic location of the remaining four casinos makes it easier for an investor to bid.

Q: Should casino gambling be kept out of New York City?
GP: Casino gambling is already in New York City, in Queens. If the question is whether it should be kept out of Manhattan, a casino in Manhattan would be the most lucrative in the world. Unfortunately, most of the legislators that represent Manhattan are vehemently opposed to having a casino there. With that being the case, I do not think there will be a casino in Manhattan.

Q: Should local governments have control over whether casinos will be allowed in their community?
GP: Not control, but they should be allowed to comment and state their preference as to whether or not they want to have a casino in their community. However, the final decision should be up to the Legislature and the Gaming Commission.

Steve Cymbrowitz
Chair, Assembly Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee

Q: With the legalization of casino gambling pending, what are your concerns?
SC: There are between 4 million to 6 million individuals nationally who are diagnosed with a gambling disorder, including an estimated one million New Yorkers. A joint report by the National Council on Problem Gambling and the Association of Problem Gambling found that in addition to personal financial, emotional and physical harm, the cost to society from crime, bankruptcy, etc., is $6.9 billion. Without sufficient funding for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling, we risk a potential increase of the consequences associated with problem gambling.

Q: What should be done to deal with the downside of gambling? Is there legislation in the works?
SC: As chairman of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, I have stated in no uncertain terms that any initiative related to the expansion of gaming must also address the downside of problem gambling. We need to dedicate a specific percentage of casino revenue to funding for prevention and treatment programs that deliver problem gambling services, so we can prevent the potential rise in problem gambling and the consequences associated with it. I have also introduced legislation that aims to increase awareness of problem gambling, promote responsible gaming in our gaming facilities and support the state in developing policies that will effectively reduce the risk of problem gambling. All of these bills passed the Assembly last year.

Q: If casinos are legalized, should local governments have control over whether a casino is allowed in their community?
SC: Giving local governments—and local residents—the opportunity to weigh in on the presence of a gambling venue is absolutely essential. Only through local input can we gauge public opinion and fully understand the demographics, civic priorities and recreational preferences that determine how a community will be impacted by a casino. What works for one community doesn’t necessarily work for another.

Q: Racetrack casinos have brought in millions of dollars for education. Are there benefits that come with gambling?
SC: The gaming industry has been a significant economic engine for New York and could be an important tool to help revitalize the economy of the upstate region by creating jobs and revenue. That being said, if we make gaming more accessible to our citizens, we must also acknowledge the potential for an increase in problem gambling and the consequences associated with it. It is critical that we have services in place to offer the help that individuals and their families need.
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nmslim
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 11:51:28 AM »

Just a guess,but they sound like politicians.I am sure it will be sunshine and lollipops from now on in NY
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 11:19:11 PM »

Just a guess,but they sound like politicians.I am sure it will be sunshine and lollipops from now on in NY
First reply on an important topic !!
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 09:37:29 PM »

Just a guess,but they sound like politicians.I am sure it will be sunshine and lollipops from now on in NY

True statement. It is all politics and NY politics at it's best.

A) It would take at a minimum, 2 years to approve State run Casino gambling in NYS. First the NYS Assembly and Senate would have to pass the State constitutional amendment. Then, the voters of NYS would also have to pass it. Even Baby Mario couldn't get that done in less than two years.

B) NYS still has a huge problem on their hands with the Seneca's who run the Indian Casino's in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. They are delinquent on slot money payments to the State and local municipalities for about 4 years now, claiming NYS has violated their compact by allowing VLT's at harness racing tracks. They are also withholding payments to the NYS R&W and NYS State Police for services rendered. This is a multi-million dollar unresolved issue.

Politics and Racing are akin to Oil and Water.
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Wink Martingale
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 09:09:00 AM »

Money quote:

"David Skorton
Chair, New York Racing Association Reorganization Board

Q: You are new to horse racing"

What exactly are we celebrating here? They put a college president at the head of NYRA?   head shake
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