The reality is that there is gambling surrounding New York City already. People looking to wage their money on the chance that the next card turned over is a Jack or the bouncing ball is going to land in the #5 slot on that spinning wheel or your fellow gambler rolls Snake Eyes already have options at their disposal.
Bettors can hop a bus to Atlantic City or Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun to try their luck. That includes both the hardcore gamblers that everyone worries about, as well as the casual gamblers who just want an escape.
Why should those states get revenue and tax money that could be coming to New York City?
New York is already on its way toward legalizing full casino gambling. The renovation of Aqueduct Racetrack with its gaming tables and video lottery terminals was the first step – a big first step.
We’re not advocating heading blindly into legalizing full casino gambling in New York, that would be a mistake. Think of the fly-by-night operations that would open their doors in backrooms and empty storefronts. We mean other than the ones that already exist, that is.
Of course there would have to be a strict planning/oversight agency that would not only oversee the gambling operations, but the siting and feasibility of casinos not only in New York City, but New York State.
Our columnist Anthony Stasi (and by his own admission Shelly Silver!) is correct, Manhattan isn’t Las Vegas and doesn’t need casinos. But the tax dollars that both Connecticut and New Jersey are collecting from New York City residents betting their money could be collected here.
And what about the tourists on vacation looking for a little waging action?
The outer boroughs have never really benefited from the “recored” number of tourists we have heard have been visiting the city the past few years. Maybe they need an attraction to get them on a subway that travels under a river or over a bridge?
There are plenty of spaces outside of Manhattan that deserve to be seen, and spending a little bit of that vacation money on gaming gets them to do it, then we’re all for it.
We’re not advocating huge casinos, but New York City is already surrounded by those options. Why not explore casino gambling on a smaller scale right here in our own backyard, when and where it makes sense?