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Consultant selected for state gambling study

Consultant selected for state gambling study

Report due in June to take comprehensive look at gambling industry in NYS
Consultant selected for state gambling study
Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY -- Spectrum Gaming Group of Horsham, Pennsylvania, has been selected to conduct a comprehensive statewide gaming market study for the state Gaming Commission.

The commission selected Spectrum Gaming over two other bidders, though the contract won't be final until after review and approval by the state Comptroller's Office, said Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione. The price won't be disclosed until after the contract is finalized, he said.

Work on the study will begin around Dec. 1, with a draft report due to state officials by April 1, and a final report due by June 1.

The gaming market study will look at such questions as whether there is room in the market for more casinos in the state — particularly in the New York City area — and whether allowing more casinos would harm the state's existing casinos, including Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady.

The study will consider the competitive impact of newly legalized gambling in neighboring states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and weigh the impact of Native American casinos, which the state has only limited power to regulate, on non-Indian casinos, which are heavily regulated.

The report also will consider what would happen if sports wagering is expanded to video lottery casinos like Saratoga Casino Hotel, or if the state decides to allow online wagering — moves that would require another constitutional amendment.

The final report will also include an evaluation of horse racing revenue, purses and awards and the future of Off Track Betting parlors, which have come under financial strain as the public's other gambling options have expanded.

Spectrum Gaming Group describes itself as "a non-partisan consultancy that specializes in the economics, regulation and policy of legalized gambling worldwide," in business since 1993.

The availability of legal gambling in New York state has expanded dramatically in the last 15 years, especially since voters in 2013 approved a state constitutional amendment allowing four full-gaming casinos in four corners of upstate.

The state had originally hoped to start the study in September and complete it by January, but over the summer the Gaming Commission decided to seek new proposals after the first request drew only two responses, with some prospective bidders considering the proposed schedule unrealistic.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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