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Superstorm Sandy Gives Casino Advocates Ammo In New York State

State Must Find Ways To Pay $32 Billion Bill

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Gov. Andrew CuomoFacing a huge bill for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts, New York officials are once again looking at casino expansion to help ease some of the financial strain expected to hit the state budget, according to NYU Local.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Wall Street Journal that Sandy will cost the state upwards of $32 billion overall, $19 billion of which is made up of losses in New York City alone.

The state will get about 75 percent of the cost reimbursed, but the hit taken by local businesses will mean less tax revenue, which will mean another hit to the state’s already projected $1 billion deficit.

Gambling advocates are using the crisis as a reason to revisit the idea of casino expansion. Officials have already met with leaders to discuss the ways in which gambling operations can help fuel tax revenue.

“The state needs money,” said New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh. “We’ve been good partners. We’re here and we’re prepared to go forward quickly.”

Cuomo himself said in January that New York could bring in an additional $1 billion annually and pushed for the state legislature to amend the constitution, which easily passed.

In the spring, the legislature will revisit the measure to determine if it will make the ballot next November. If it does, the voters will then have the power to bring more traditional casinos to the state.

Currently, there are nine racinos, or racetrack casinos, operating in the state. There are also 29,000 electronic gambling machines and various casinos located on Indian Reservations.

Superstorm Sandy devastated the North East part of the United States. Although there wasn’t much structural damage done to casinos in Atlantic City, the storm did manage to cause the worst revenue drop in the city’s history.