05/10/2013 1:15PM

Cuomo asks for five-year moratorium on New York City casinos


A casino at Aqueduct racetrack that provides tens of millions of dollars annually in subsidies each year to the racing industry would be protected from local competition for the next five years under a proposal announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The proposal was the latest in a number of casino-related plans Cuomo has announced this year as part of his effort to expand casino gambling in New York. Under the latest plan, developers would be prohibited from seeking a casino license in the New York metro area – including on Long Island – for five years, while the state would seek to award three licenses for full-blown casinos in upstate areas.

Most significantly for racing, the plan, if embraced by legislators, would protect the casino already located at Aqueduct racetrack from new competitors in the immediate area. The casino, run by the Malaysian conglomerate Genting, is the most lucrative on the East Coast, in large part of because of its location. Genting has told legislators it would oppose any efforts to locate another casino in the New York area unless it was given the license.

The New York legislature passed a bill last year that would amend the constitution to allow the state to award up to seven licenses for full-blown casinos. A similar bill would have to pass in this year’s session, which is scheduled to end June 20, in order to put the issue to voters either later this year or in 2014.