Tag Archives: James Featherstonhaugh

Gaming can be a royal flush for the state


| editorial@queenscourier.com

By James Featherstonhaugh

President of the New York Gaming Association

New York State has been in the gambling business for decades. But for the first time in our state’s history, lawmakers in Albany are acknowledging that reality, and have started a process to take advantage of it for the benefit of all New Yorkers and especially Queens residents.

While we’re still a long way from a constitutional amendment that will legalize enhanced gaming, including table games, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers should be commended for taking the first step. They passed amendment legislation that puts us on a path to create thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and keep billions of dollars currently being spent elsewhere right here in the Empire State.

Albany needs to pass the amendment a second time next year, and then it goes to voters on the ballot. New York does gaming the right way. We have a unique public/private partnership between the state and our nine racetrack casinos spread across New York – including Resorts World in Queens – that is the envy of other states.

Gaming venues are sensibly located, thoughtfully regulated, and operated in a socially responsible, economically reliable way that promotes everyone’s interests. Because of this, New York leads the nation in gaming revenue. But we could do much better. Currently, we lose up to $5 billion annually in gaming revenue to surrounding states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and soon, Massachusetts. These dollars are lost primarily because racetrack casinos are arbitrarily limited by our Constitution and cannot have the kinds of games you can play in other states.

For example, in New York you can play roulette, but only if the ball is rolled electronically and not by a real person. That is a distinction without a difference, and one that is currently costing us billions of dollars and thousands of jobs every year.

Consider the positive impact Resorts World has already had in Queens, where 1,500 people have been hired, and the casino has poured more than $105,000,000 into the state coffers for education. With enhanced gaming, those numbers will only go up.

There are still a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved. But the members of the New York Gaming Association have proven track records of generating millions for the state and being among the largest employers in their regions.

The public should be excited that New York is implementing gambling in the most socially responsible and fiscally reliable way, so that we can reap the maximum benefit from casino gaming.

 

Poll says casino gaming is a ‘smart bet’


| smosco@queenscourier.com

New Yorkers say “Hit me!”

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, residents want the state to amend its constitution and deal table games at New York Casinos similar to ones in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

The poll states that 56 percent of city and state residents would approve casinos. A more recent Siena College poll found that 57 percent of New Yorkers surveyed would allow non-Indian-run casinos to be built around the state, compared with 36 percent opposed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and most recently, Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have all indicated their support as well, along with State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr, who is a member of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee.

“Rather than see the money keep going to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos upstate, in this stagnant economy I believe we must start the process, including public input, for the expansion of Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) racinos into full casino gaming to increase our revenues and to boost education initiatives,” said Addabbo. “The smart bets are that voters would want to amend the NYS Constitution and ‘let the games begin’ – making it a win-win situation for the economy of our state and for our people.”

The senator is said to be working closely with operators at Resorts World Casino New York City, the developers at the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park, to ensure a healthy partnership benefiting the surrounding community.

James Featherstonhaugh, chairman of the New York Gaming Association, of which Resorts World is a member, said that allowing casino gambling in the state would inject a much needed jolt to local economy and jobs.

“We continue to believe that when New Yorkers know all the facts – the immediate ability to create thousands of jobs and the spin-off effect of expanded tourism – this support will only grow,” said Featherstonhaugh. “In this regard, our association will be reaching out to elected officials and the public in the coming weeks and months in an effort to educate people on the fact that New York is losing $5 billion annually to surrounding states that already have gaming. By enhancing gaming in New York, we can stop this drain, create jobs, stimulate our economy and generate more revenues for education.”