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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nuthin Doin on Casino Selections

There was a hastily-announced meeting of the Gaming Facility Location Board on Monday evening.  But they wanted to make it perfectly clear that nobody should be expecting nuthin'.

Just so that nobody got excited or anything. I presume that no one from the press showed up, and that, therefore, no one asked anything about #3 on the Meeting Agenda: a Motion to Enter into a closed Executive Session to consider the "Financial History of Particular Persons or Corporations, specifically Applicants Responsive to the Request For Applications to Develop and Operate a Gaming Facility in New York State."  I'd be curious to know exactly which of the applicants who were responsive to the Request for Applications to develop and operate a gaming facility in New York State were having their financial history considered.  Perhaps this one?

In any event, as I've been saying all along, I'm not expecting any announcement prior to Election Day, lest the decisions piss off any voters who may be considering voting for the incumbent governor.  So it's pretty quiet right about now.  There's been recent news that the Traditions Casino developers have reached an agreement with the Hotel & Motel Trades Council that allows it to move forward with its bid.  We read that Genting's Resorts World racino at the Big A has 'quietly become the most successful racetrack casino in the world....' though I don't know how significant that is given that I don't know that there are any racetrack casinos outside of this country.  And something about Donald Trump, as if anyone cares what he has to say (though more on that below).

One comment though on Genting....again, they're insisting that a casino in Tuxedo will not cannibalize business at its Resorts World racino at the Big A, because RW is a racino with electronic games only, and Sterling Forest would be a full-service casino with hotels and beautiful gardens and skiing and stuff.  Of course, that's easy for them to say, because they have Yonkers smack in between the two to absorb any blow.  And eventually, the whole region will be so loaded with casinos that each will likely have its own little local market from which it draws the majority of its customers.  And Genting can talk all it wants about Asian customers flying in from Beijing, and how that will create all this massive revenue without draining domestic customers from other facilities.  But then what will happen when it opens its own grand Asian-friendly casino in Las Vegas, complete with live panda bears?  You mean, they're not going to want to fly those same baccarat enthusiasts there too?  The global village gets smaller and smaller, and the predicted saturation is going to occur.  One way or another.

Otherwise, while we're waiting, what do you want to talk about?   Seems a good opportunity for me to pivot to the Breeders' Cup.  But I don't really want to; don't find it particularly compelling.  However,  I hope to get around to handicapping a couple of the races well as my annual diatribe about how the BC hasn't achieved its goals; and, in fact, has been negative for the sport overall.

So, of course, there's the elections.  Let's talk a bit about how Governor Cuomo has bamboozled everyone in a way that has cornered me into thinking that I actually have to vote for him!  Yikes!  I'm dead set against doing so for a variety of reasons that I probably don't need to go into here.  However, consider the matter of the Women's Equality Party (WEP) that he created; that as opposed to the Working Families Party (WFP), who granted him their ballot line over Zephyr Teachout in exchange for what was supposed to be the governor's enthusiastic embrace and energetic support for Democratic control of the NY Senate.  (That support has been half-hearted, at best.  He announced support for Adirenne Esposito, running for a vacant seat on Long Island, in a manner which the Times described as "[leaving] something to be desired."  Then, he endorsed three Democrats running upstate - incumbents Celia Tkaczyk and Terry Gibson, and Justin Wagner, running for a seat being vacated by a Republican - via press release rather than in person....and on a Saturday - from Puerton Rico no less! - when it tends to get lost.  Yeah, that'll really do it!  Thanks, Gov.)

Anyway, and briefly,  the governor established the Women's Equality Party amidst much cynicism as to his motives, given that the notion of the party's name is already a cornerstone of the Democrats' agenda.  In fact, it's quite possible that the Women's Equality Act would already have passed in its entirety (including the controversial - to Republicans - notion that Roe v Wade, currently the law of the land, should also be the law of the state; just in case the Roberts Supreme Court someday overturns it) had Cuomo not encouraged and empowered the current arrangement in the Senate whereby the minority GOP shares power with the IDC.  (Additionally, his broken promise to veto partisan redistricting is no doubt contributing to what appears to be an extremely strong threat of the GOP taking the Senate outright in two weeks.)  Or, perhaps, had he put as much energy into seeing it passed as he did with the casino amendment.

By encouraging voters to vote for him on the WEP ballot line - as I was specifically encouraged to do by a recent campaign call - Cuomo is not only, as Senator Liz Krueger recently noted, causing a bloc which makes up 54% of the state's voters to be "relegated to some non-party," but he threatens the very viability of the WFP.  (And if you're confused between the WEP and the WFP, many people feel that's exactly the goal.)  If Cuomo does not receive at least 50,000 on the Working Families Party line, the party will lose its position on Row D of the ballot and possibly threaten its presence there altogether.  Since the Working Families Party has become, in my view, an important progressive voice as the governor has shifted to the political center in order to further his own political ambitions,  I would not want to see that happen.  Thus, I must seriously consider holding my nose, and voting for the governor on the Working Families Party line.  Yuck. 

 - Senator Krueger is also leading the party's opposition to Proposition 1, the farcical redistricting procedure that resulted from the deal between Cuomo and the Senate GOP that nixed the former's promised veto of the most recent redraw.  The process that would result should the proposition pass is a not-at-all thinly veiled attempt to land the process right back into the hands of the parties in control of the chambers at the well as formally establish the existing amorphous districts as the baseline for future changes (which is not currently the case).

 - An article by Michael Vass on the Binghampton Examiner site contains some succinctly smart observations on casinos that I'll post here without any further comment necessary: 
Unlike almost any other industry, casinos are essentially a zero sum industry. In essence casinos take more out of communities than they put in - if they are successful. Casinos do not create a good that can be sold, and the number of jobs created is fixed once a casino is up and running. The goal of all casinos is the Las Vegas model. That is that the glamour and entertainment is attractive enough to pull tourists from other locations, thus increasing the pool of money that can be taken without destroying the local economy the casino is based in.

For more than 2 decades Atlantic City did exactly what Las Vegas has done. They pulled visitors on the East Coast via boxing matches and ease in travel (compared to Las Vegas). There is the benefit of a decent climate (for the northeast) and a beach in addition to entertainment venues. This was an ideal situation, until competition arrived.

No, New York will never be saved by casinos......Given the relatively harsh winters (that numerous New Yorkers escape south to avoid every year), the lack of diversity in Upstate New York, the limited pool of discretionary dollars available, and high competition, casinos cannot be the savior to New York's State deficit. For these same reasons local communities, that may gain a short-term bump due to curiosity and ease of travel, will not have meaningful long-term improvements.

In fact, it is a very real probability that at least some of the local communities in Upstate New York will be harmed by the casinos. The limited pool of discretionary funds available in these areas may funnel into the casinos. Funds that will never reach back to the communities they came from, because that is the purpose of a gambling casino - if they are run to create a profit. [Examiner]
UPDATE:  Our buddy El Angelo points out that SD-40, where Justin Wagner is running against
Republican Terrence Wagner for the seat being vacated by Greg Ball (R), lies in large part in Westchester, and therefore does not qualify as being "upstate."  Here is what this district looks like:


El Angelo said...

I take issue with calling Justin Wagner an upstate candidate. Over half of his potential constituents (including myself) live in Westchester.

Unknown said...

Duly noted. It's one of those real symmetrical districts. :-)

kyle said...

BC question: Do you guys have more numerous and more detailed running line descriptions for the Euros? BrisNet, at least, seems to have less and less.

Alan Mann said...

Hi Kyle -

We have more detail in the form of (very) long race comments. Also, we have attempted to calculate the speed figures for the US and foreign races on the same scale so that, in theory, you don't have to add or subtract points from the foreign lines to get them in line with the US numbers.

If you want to email me at, I can send you some samples.