Governor Cuomo will make his already official support for expanded gaming really officially official when he touts it in his State of the State address on Wednesday. Joseph Spector writes in this report:
Cuomo is considering whether to let the racetracks add table games -- which would make them full-fledged casinos -- or set up destination areas where casinos would be located. [DemocratandChronicle.com]As far as I know, Cuomo is not expected to announce that determination in Wednesday's speech. And jeez, let's hope not! I mean, what fun would that be? We might be deprived of many months of BS like this:
"I think the governor correctly understands that what we need in the state is jobs," said Jeff Gural, a Manhattan developer who owns Vernon Downs in central New York and Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier. "And one good thing about table games is that it's really a jobs bill as opposed to a revenue bill."Well....no, Jeff. It's a revenue bill, make no mistake about that. Both for the state, and for prospective casino owners such as Gural (though not at all necessarily for the horsemen), who is part of the New York Gaming Association lobbying for the casinos to be limited to the nine existing racinos. Sure, it is a revenue bill that will indeed create some jobs. But truth be told, it would likely create more jobs if Cuomo opts for new destination areas without an existing infrastructure in place. (Watch the NYGA pivot smoothly into anti-casino advocacy should that become the case.)
The Seneca Nation tribe is gearing up to weigh in with an ad campaign in an attempt to maintain what they claim is their "exclusivity zone."
The Senecas contend they have exclusive gaming rights in western New York—west of Route 14, which runs from Wayne County to the Southern Tier. The tribe has withheld $350 million from the state in protest to the racinos at three western New York racetracks—Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs and Finger Lakes. Last month, the Senecas filed for arbitration over their claims. [Politics on the Hudson] (Again, the omnipresent Joseph Spector)The Senecas are not opposed to casinos in other parts of the state; but, employing some hyperbole of their own, are arguing that the introduction of live person table games at those abovenamed existing racinos would imperil the economy of Western New York by threatening thousands of local jobs.
By opening the door for foreign and Las Vegas-style gaming operators to build casinos within the Seneca exclusivity zone, the State will be inviting these operators to take their revenues out of New York State to shareholders in Asia, Las Vegas and elsewhere. [Senacas Mean Business] (good job with the slogan there)As opposed to, say, Genting? The state doesn't care that much what these companies do with their profits as long as they're generating and paying their share of the revenue. (And yeah, creating some jobs too.)
- The tight three-way race underway in Iowa as I write this (before Ron Paul weakened to third in deep stretch) had me thinking about the three-way dead heat in the 1944 Carter Handicap. (And no....I wasn't there, or anywhere!) There's no video of the race, but there is video of the 1974 edition. And man, that Forego was pretty damn good, doncha think? Wow.
(Dave Johnson was pretty good himself.)
- The Rangers won the Winter Classic and lead the Eastern Conference of the NHL. It was an exciting game with a thrilling finish, but one played on an ice surface which was clearly not ideal. (Great photo gallery from the game here.) A lot of talk about the officiating down the stretch. Some people who normally would never be associated with wild conspiracy theories about officiating are really scratching their heads about this one. Rangers coach John Tortorella said: "I’m not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game." [Ranger Rants] (Best Rangers beat writer blog by a mile) While Tortorella has been fined in the past for comments on officiating, this is like Ron Paul-type stuff. He can expect a hefty fine for questioning the integrity of the officials and the league.
But man, with the Broadway Blueshirts (outfitted in an unbecoming white Winter Classic jersey that I suspect we'll be seeing more of until they sell out of them at the Team Store) leading 3-2 as the game wound down, there was some really strange stuff. Marian Gaborik clearly hooked on a partial break-in with no call. Ryan McDonough, the monster second year D-man acquired from the Canadians for Scott Gomez in a trade that could turn out to be the Ken Hodge-Rick Middleton deal of its time, was slammed into the goal post by a Flyer, thus dislodging it; yet the Rangers were the team that was penalized. Ryan Callahan was hooked up high while racing towards the puck with the Flyers' net empty, but was also whistled off on an incongruous diving penalty, later changed to holding the stick.
The one call I thought was actually OK was the penalty shot awarded to the Orange Crud with 19 seconds left when McDonough covered up the puck in the crease. My question there though is - who exactly called that penalty? I never saw either of the refs pointing at center ice to signal a penalty shot. And neither did any of the NBC guys, including sharp-eyed Pierre McGuire right down on the ice. Was it the result of some intervention from Toronto? Or from HBO, which didn't get a shootout to cap off their 24/7 series, but got something pretty darn close to it?
We usually hear grumbling from the losing coach. However, as former NHL referee Kerry Fraser told the Times' Jeff Z. Klein: “In normal circumstances, when the winning coach had something negative to say, I always placed more value on his comments than those made by a loser.” Indeed, Tortorella may set a record for the biggest fine for complaints about the referees by a winning coach!