In the meantime, the governor has made this—and horse racing—his game to run. Last week he introduced plans to set up an independent gaming commission that will take over the New York Racing Association on Feb. 1, 2013. This overall gaming commission will regulate horse racing, lottery, charitable gaming and Indian casinos.
The governor brought forth new legislation that would give the state control of NYRA’s board for up to three years, after which the government would return the franchise in the form of a not-for-profit corporation. Cuomo will reduce the existing board from 25 members to 17, with Cuomo having eight of those picks (including the new board chairman).
He is doing so as controversy surrounds the Committee To Save New York, the lobbying group composed of several key members of the real estate industry, such as CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe and REBNY’s Steven Spinola, that, with Mr. Cuomo’s apparent endorsement, has been supporting the governor’s agenda through a high-profile media campaign.
Just as news of the collapse of the Genting talks was spreading, reports also hit that the Committee To Save New York had received a $2.4 million donation from Genting and the New York Gaming Association. This was perceived as a hypocritical slight on Gov. Cuomo’s part, whose gubernatorial campaign was based on fighting pay-to-play schemes and Albany corruption.
A person close to the committee, who did not wish to be named, said that the $2.4 million contribution from Genting and the Gaming Association was done in support of a new convention center, not for casino gaming.
“We don’t discuss our donors. If you want to ask them what was behind their support, they can speak for themselves,” said Mike McKeon, a group spokesman.
Despite the controversies and the premature state of table gaming in New York, this has not prevented casino groups from jockeying for position.
Those casinos are getting “a lay of the land,” figuring out which neighborhoods could possibly be in play, while also learning precisely what politics are involved.
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