Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled a comprehensive resort gaming destination plan to create jobs and boost tourism in Upstate New York. The Governors plan capitalizes on the economic gains that other states have made through resort gaming which would increase revenue for localities and provide new economic opportunity for Upstate local businesses through increased tourism.
The plan also details a non-political independent process for the siting of resort gaming destinations, new specific criteria for selecting the gaming operators, and a breakdown on the distribution of revenue in a way that benefits multiple localities, counties and the State. Under the Governor's plan, upstate New York would be divided into six regions, and three resorts would be bid out with only one resort eligible to be located within a region. A map of the six Upstate regions is attached.
"Our state has a unique opportunity to revitalize the local economies of communities in Upstate New York and create thousands of new jobs where they are needed most," Governor Cuomo said. "For years neighboring states like Connecticut and New Jersey have benefited from New Yorkers leaving our state to visit their gaming facilities. We want to reverse this trend by putting new resort destinations in Upstate New York, a strategy that will attract more tourists and visitors to come and shop at our local businesses, visit regional attractions, and help create new jobs in our communities. This proposal sites gaming resorts through an independent, non-political process, to fairly and strategically capitalize on the enormous potential gaming has for growing our state's economy."
Resort Gaming Destinations as Economic Engines in Upstate NY:
Tourism is already a major economic driver in New York State, placing as the state's fifth largest industry, employing more than 700,000 people, generating $57 billion in spending and accounting for more than $7 billion in local and state tax revenue. Resort destinations with enhanced gaming pose an opportunity to supercharge the state's tourism efforts, especially in Upstate New York.
The economic impact and jobs potential of resort gaming is significant:
- In New Jersey, an estimated 35,500 direct jobs are associated with gaming, and a Rutgers Study estimated over 100,000 indirect jobs.
- In Connecticut, there are an estimated 14,600 direct jobs, and more than 16,400 in Pennsylvania.
- The Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut alone employs more than 8,200 people and generates $165.5 million in revenue to the State.
- Here in New York, Resorts World, which does not offer full gaming and has no hotel, generates $306 million in revenue to the State while employing 1,750 people.
- The impact crosses over to the many small businesses supported by gaming resorts. In New Jersey, gaming resorts spend an average of $2.3 billion annually with over 2,000 independent vendors operating in every county in the state including transportation companies, food vendors, and professional services.
Heather Briccetti, President and CEO at The Business Council of New York, said, Governor Cuomos gaming and destination resort proposal will transform regions in upstate New York into world class vacation destinations. As the fifth largest employment sector in New York, tourism plays a crucial role in expanding our economy. The Governors plan will attract more tourists to our struggling economies upstate, which will breathe new life into small business, helping them grow and thrive in New York. I thank the Governor for his leadership and look forward to working his administration as we continue to build a new, business friendly New York.
Mario Cilento, President at NewYork State AFL-CIO, said, "This gaming proposal will generate tens of thousands of stable, good paying jobs that will help middle class families who have been struggling for far too long. The New York State AFL-CIO is proud to partner with the state in making casino gaming a reality. With this proposal, Governor Cuomo is delivering for New York's hardworking families."
Steve Acquario, Executive Director at NYS Association of Counties, said, The plan outlined by the Governor today will help our communities prepare for this new industry. There are economic development, law enforcement, infrastructure and human service needs that will accompany this gaming plan and our regional governments will be critical to ensuring its success."
The Governor's Proposed Plan: Linking Tourism, Jobs and Revenue:
The Governor's plan for resort gaming destinations would be at the center of a strategy that combines tourism, economic development, and revenue, especially for upstate New York. The plan includes these key details:
Locations for Resort Gaming Destinations: Three resorts would be bid out in upstate New York. Under the plan, upstate New York would be divided into six regions. Only one resort could be located within a region.
Indian Gaming: Three regions in the State have Indian gaming. An Indian Nation with a zone of exclusivity would have that zone honored by the state when siting new resorts, as long as the compact between the nation and the state is in good standing. If the compact is not in good standing, the region would be eligible for a commercial (non-Indian) gaming resort.
Evaluation Criteria for Selection of the Resort Gaming Destinations: Evaluation Criteria will include:
In addition, a series of added evaluation criteria will include:
- Immediate and Full Financing Available
- Comprehensive Development Approach
- Experience in Gaming Development
- Speed in Construction/Date of Completion
- Pass Ethics and Integrity Reviews
- Workforce Development
- Labor Agreement
- Environmental Sensitivity
- Addressing Problem Gambling
The selection criteria are the minimum threshold for any project to be approved in a region even if no competing projects are offered. Winning projects would be given a five-year exclusive period with no additional casinos cited in New York City or Upstate. Racinos would be able to compete as well, and all contracts with horse tracks would be honored.
Recipients of Revenue Distribution:
- 10% for the host community
- 10% for counties in the region
- 80% for the state
Uses of Revenue: The revenue would be used for state education aid above the annual formula, property tax relief, and reimbursement for local costs.
Independent Selection Commission: The Commission will include real estate and finance experts, and a financial advisor will be selected by the panel. The Commission is temporary and would dissolve following completion of its work. The Legislature would not be involved in the selection process.