Thursday, December 29, 2011
Thursday News and
A Daily News headline the other day read: Democrats may say
no dice to New York casinos, Sheldon Silver warns. However, I think that’s a
case of a paper making up news in order to attract some readers/traffic. All the Speaker really said is that he can’t
guarantee how his conference will vote. The fact is that Silver supports it, as
does the Governor and the Senate Majority Leader….and I for one don’t sense
any real organized opposition to the idea in the legislature. . And Silver
acknowledged that the climate is far different from the last time it came up in
the late 90’s.
Not only is the deficit-plagued state desperately in need of
new revenue and job creation, but casinos have sprouted up in surrounding
states and even on Indian reservations within New York.
“There may be an attitude of ‘Let’s take some of the revenue
and keep it home,’” Silver said.
A familiar argument to be sure. Even Mayor Mike, a one-time
gambling opponent, trotted that one out to explain his recent reversal. The
mayor may have once opposed expanded gambling on the basis of its being
regressive, the inevitable saturation, and the fact that casinos are not the
panacea for the surrounding neighborhoods that advocates make them out to be.
But not anymore. There’s sufficient cover at this point for politicians of most
stripes to take this easy way out of having to make difficult fiscal decisions.
What the Speaker may really be getting at is buried in the
last sentence of the article.
Silver said it is possible that his members will want the
constitutional amendment to be more specifically defined than the one Cuomo has
Because the big question now regarding casinos is not ‘if,’
but ‘where.’ (At least in terms of getting the question posed to the voters in
a referendum which could take place in Nov 2013.) So, this could set off a
frenzy of activity by the New York Gaming Association (NYGA) representing the
nine existing racinos, as well as the tribes and private investors such as
Louis Cappelli who are looking for a piece of the pie. (Though their lobbyists
would probably be happy to see the matter drag on for a couple of years.)
– With 5,000 machines now on line, the win per machine
figure for the week ending 12/24 at Resorts World dropped to a relatively
anemic $261. While the weeks leading up to Christmas are generally slow ones
for the racinos, that’s significantly below the $380 figure NYRA is using for
their 2012 budget. Of course, I haven’t seen an iota of marketing on the part
of Genting to this point, have you?
– The purse
increases, said to be in the order of 36%, took effect at the Big A on
Wednesday. When Stud Muffin ($15) won the 5th race, owner Bruce Golden Racing
collected a winner’s share of $35,400 (60% of the $59,000 purse)….more than
$10,000 more than his $25,000 optional claiming price. No wonder activity has
been brisk at the claim box! When Stud Muffin last ran, in the same state-bred
optional claiming level, the purse was $43,000. Seven-year old has now earned
$44,000 with a win and a second since being claimed by David Jacobson for
In the 7th, Coosada ($7.10) shipped in from Churchill off
the claim for trainer John Good. He last ran in a 16K claimer there which
carried a purse of $21,000. Here, he dropped to 14K, but competed for a purse
of $34,000. Owner Maggi Moss collected a winner’s share of $20,400 – nearly as
much as the Churchill race offered overall – plus the proceeds from a Linda
Rice claim, for a total of $34,400. Not a bad return.