Sen. Bonacic says Legislature may have to return to change casino amendment
The proposed state casino amendment might need to be beefed up if advocates of a second casino in New York City get their way.
This morning at the second day of Albany Law School's conference on racing and gaming, state Sen. John Bonacic, chair of the Senate's racing and wagering committee, said the state Legislature might need to return before the general elections in November to amend the casino amendment that passed this spring. That amendment, which needs to be passed in the next legislative session, approved seven live-table non-Indian casinos in the state.
He said that when the amendment passed it was done with the understanding that one casino would be destined for the New York City metropolitan area and six would be reserved for upstate. As cries for a second casino in the metropolitan area grow louder, Bonacic said the interests of upstate New York should not be ignored.
That's why he said the Legislature conceivably should be ready to return to session and kick up the number of casinos approved for New York.
He acknowledged after his public remarks that this isn't something the Republican conference has broached yet, but during his public remarks he noted that the Senate Republicans had initially wanted the amendment to allow for 10 casinos in the state. The decision for seven sites was a compromise led by Cuomo, he said, as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had only wanted six casinos.
New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh, who was on the same panel as Bonacic, was skeptical about the possibility of the state Legislature returning before November. It was his assesment that there isn't an appetite in the Senate or Assembly to return to session on this issue.
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