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Saturday, March 02, 2013

NYC Voters May Determine Casinos' Fate

Interesting point raised in this Crain's New York article on a couple of recent polls on the casino referendum:

  While Mr. Cuomo is proposing building the first three casinos upstate, New York City voters will make up the bulk of the 2013 electorate in November because the mayor's race will drive up turnout. Some observers have speculated that would make passage of the amendment easier.
November will feature the first NYC mayor's race since 2001 not to include Michael Bloomberg.  And, other than the possible special election or two, there will be no state-wide legislative elections on either the state or federal level; so the referendum could be the only matter on the ballot in many places.  So indeed, the casino issue may well be decided in the city.....where Governor Cuomo has declared that there will be no casinos, at least at first.  Kind of an odd situation; though it would still be city voters' only chance to vote on the question of eventual casinos in New York City even if not in the first wave.

That would be interesting given the overwhelming Democratic registration advantage (a 6-to-1 margin over Republicans) in the five boroughs.  Then again, as we've long seen, the issue of gambling often transcends party lines.  And, remarkably, a Democrat hasn't been elected as mayor since David Dinkins in 1990.  Hard to imagine in my view that that streak won't be broken this year.  Gotta think that the real suspense will be in the Democratic primary, which will feature a uninspiring but potentially closely-matched field.  The Republicans do have a really interesting guy in Joe Lhota, who fits the profile of recent Republican/Independent (or whatever the heck Bloomberg is) mayors with his progressive-leaning views on social issues.  But his name recognition is low, and, despite his much-praised efforts to get the subway system back up and running after Sandy, I can't imagine that "former head of the MTA" could resonate positively amongst voters who utilize the transit system on a regular basis.

Anyway, getting back on topic, if you believe the poll released early last month by Global Strategy Group, the only plan that likely NYC mayoral primary and general election voters would approve is the one that would give Genting the only casino in the city with six built elsewhere.  Of course, that poll was underwritten by none other than Genting.  So, you can be sure that the wording of the questions favored the outcome that the folks who paid for the obvious push-poll wanted to see.  I've yet to see a non-partisan poll on the issue; if anyone has, please pass it along.

Speaking of Genting, seems that the gambling giant is suddenly and finally acknowledging commitments that had been made to the racing side at their Resorts World racino.  I've heard people at NYRA and those familiar with the situation speak of Genting only in the most acrimonious of terms; the relationship is said to be virtually non-existent.  But now, construction on the Longshots simulcast bar on the second floor of the Big A, which was supposed to be completed by now, is due to resume on Monday.  Additionally, Genting has resumed assigning its personnel to clean the racing side, as it is supposed to (NYRA had brought over custodial employees from Belmont).  And I've even heard, at least from some quarters, that races will actually be shown on TVs at bars in the casino.  Wow, imagine that!  One surely gets the feeling that Genting has either heard from Albany, or, with its eye squarely on the casino prize, has accordingly decided on its own to try and be the good neighbor and landlord that it pledged to be when it got the racino gig. 


steve in nc said...

Alan, two posts in a week?! I had stopped checking daily so I didn't even get to see your last one before this one came up.

For NYRA CEO, I'm thinking that for that salary and level of hassle, it would be easier to find someone who is currently out of work. So my trifecta box is Andrew Mason, Bobby Valentine and Pope Benedict.

As for compensation, if difficulty/unpleasantness is the criterion, then roofers and nursing assistants should make much more than CEOs.

And if value to the organization is the criterion, then paying the CEO the most makes sense is some but far from all cases.

IMHO, CEOs are the most overpaid people in the country. There are a few with vision that is vital to the company's success. Most could be replaced by one of many many people getting paid much less, with no impact on the company.

They get overpaid, with golden parachutes too, because of social obligation and reciprocity from boards, made up of other CEOs and the like. I think social obligation is one of humanity's best traits and just wish the wealthy would extend it to the non-wealthy.

As for keeping the BC out of NY because of the lasix ban, that shows absolute disregard for the NY horseplayer/customer and the NY economy. Living in NC, I'll happily play the BC in California where the turf is less likely to be a bog. But why doesn't NYRA want all that handle?

Teresa said...

Gotta strike Bobby V off the list, Steve--

Unknown said...

“We recognize that Bobby is an out-of-the-box selection..."


Teresa said...

When I read it a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was from the Onion.

August Song said...

Several comments: First, I heard today that work had already begun on Longshots. Maybe one of the recent board meetings by Skorton touched a nerve, when Ellen revealed that Genting hadn't done anything yet in regards to the sports bar construction, as they had promised. I seem to re-collect Skorton suggesting that NYRA or the state might need pursue getting "some legal advice on the matter." Also originally, Longshots was due to be completed by the start of the 2013 Saratoga meet, not before.

Bobby Valentine? That Bobby Valentine? The same Bobby Valentine that managed to alienate every ballplayer he was around, who spoke English. His Japanese players either never understood what the hell he was saying or, were so traditionally reverent, as to commit hari kiri, if so asked.

Teresa said...

August, according to NYRA officials last spring, Longshots was supposed to be open when Aqueduct opened in November of 2012.

steve in nc said...

Thanks, Teresa. Sacred Heart's gain is Sacred Heart's loss. They had better add a budget line for therapy for Bobby V's coaches.

Some people make one mistake and never get another chance (or never get a chance in the first place). And then there are people like Bobby V and Donald Trump. Life is truly mysterious.

As to my feelings about CEO pay, I guess I'm not alone:

Figless said...

Perhaps they can take 1% of gentings VLT take and dedicate it to AQU maintenance??

The fact that they refused to put the races on TV never made business sense to me, beautiful bar, empty most times, they would actually ATTRACT customers from the racing side who might be inclined to drop a few bucks into the machines.

Why can't we all just get along?