Governor Cuomo tossed a sweeping curveball into the casino debate when he floated the idea of postponing the referendum to November, 2014. We've all been assuming that the vote would come this November, and there's been discussion about how that would skew the decision in favor of New York City voters, expected to vote en masse in the mayoral election (especially if you have a couple of charismatic candidates, think Andrew Weiner vs Joseph Lhota). There are no statewide elections this year, so turnout upstate would be limited to those with particular interest in weighing in on the topic.
So, in a way, it seems like the fair thing to do. After all, the governor has declared that the first three casinos will be sited upstate at locations to be ultimately determined by the Gaming Commission which he has yet to appoint, so it only seems right that they have a fair say. Of course, in a more perfect world, everyone would come out to vote every year regardless of what's at stake just out of a sense of duty to our participatory democracy. However, that not being the case, 2014 should be a turnout bonanza statewide with the governor himself up for re-election, along with the entire Assembly and Senate. Cuomo would be campaigning side by side with the measure; we'll see which way the political winds for are blowing at that point in time and, accordingly, how closely the governor wants to be associated with the issue.
And of course, we all know that fairness has nothing to do with it. I'd surmise that if Cuomo was convinced the referendum could be passed this year by NYC voters who know they're not getting a casino right away, he would go for it rather than having to discuss and debate it during his re-election campaign. And that's not to mention a year delay in the money flowing to the state.
- The New York Gaming Association issued their usual self-congratulatory press release, this one touting their results from 2012.
"Our nine existing facilities are tremendous economic assets that should be nurtured and developed,” association President James D. Featherstonhaugh said in a statement. [Syracuse.com]I've been writing for quite some time here about how the NYGA will turn against this thing on a dime if they don't get the casinos (which still seems unlikely to me considering the governor's past comments about them being a 'scandal'); and this is the first time I've seen them acknowledge that publicly.
"We would reserve our right to oppose it in the event we thought it was going to be harmful." [Capitol Confidential]Still wondering what happens to this organization should some of them get casinos, and others not. I could see Yonkers and Genting lending support to racinos upstate for the precedent of the facilities being granted them and with an eye towards the next round; but otherwise hard to imagine unity other than a blanket denial or approval.
Anyway, I was on the NYGA site and clicked my way through the links to the member tracks, and found a couple of fun things. The home page of the Batavia Downs Casino features a commercial starring the former Buffalo Bills running back great Thurman Thomas.
Love that racetrack scene; and as cheesy as it is, it's probably the most realistic one in the spot. Videos like this, and all those photos you see on the racino sites of young professional-looking types having such a great time serve to perpetuate the lie that these places are some kind of glamorous entertainment center rather than a grim cold palace designed to get people in a chair in front of a machine and keep them right there.
Here's the Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack
Look, this guy Daniel won $25,742.79 at Hamburg Casino at Buffalo Raceway and even he's not having fun.
Big event at Tioga Downs.
Oh, well, if that's not your cup of java, at Tioga you can at least look forward to some harness racing!
Um.....well, yeah but......nevermind.