03/15/2012 11:17AM

Bill approved that would allow seven new casinos in New York State

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Both houses of the New York legislature have approved a bill that would provide for up to seven new casinos in the state. Final approval of the bill in the State Senate came on Thursday morning after legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a deal late on Wednesday night to push the legislation.

The bill, which would amend the state’s constitution, would also need to pass the legislature next year before being put to a public referendum. Under the bill’s language, “no more” than seven privately owned casinos would be allowed in the state if the measure is approved. The bill does not specify where the casinos would be located, and Gov. Cuomo said in a release that those details may be worked out next year.

The bill, which gained the support of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as part of a late-night budget negotiation on Wednesday, will face stiff opposition from the five Native American tribes that operate casinos in the state and the owners of New York’s nine racetrack casinos. Both are opposed to additional competition for the gambling dollar.

Cuomo said that the expansion of gambling in the state would create jobs and generate revenue for the state’s budget.
“This is a process that will ultimately put thousands of New Yorkers to work, drive our economy, and help keep billions of dollars spent by New Yorkers on [gambling] in the state,” said Cuomo in a statement.