Racinos want Catskill casino project halted

Several racinos are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State to re-evaluate a casino compact made between former governor Paterson and an out-of-state Indian Tribe toward the end of his tenure in November.

The compact, agreed upon between Paterson and Wisconsin’s Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, involved a land settlement, which would enable the tribe to develop a casino with games and slot machines in the Catskills.

Racinos, including Resorts World New York, Saratoga Gaming& Raceway and Empire City/Yonkers Raceway, sent¬† a letter yesterday to the Governor’s office, the NYS Department of Budget and Division of Lottery, calling for an immediate reevaluation of the agreement.

The state could lose $400 million in revenue, $200 million in state education dollars and roughly 1,000 jobs, endangering New York’s racing industry.

If built, the casino would also pay far less taxes on slots and table games, which are more attractive than video lottery terminals and are state-sponsored. Racinos pay taxes of 60-70 percent on video lottery revenues while Indian casinos pay 18-25 percent.

“The reduced tax structure provided not only immediately reduces state tax and education funding, but creates a structural competitive advantage that cannot be overcome because Indian casinos have the ability to offer free room, food and beverage because of the low tax rate … Racinos cannot and will not be ale to effectively compete,” the letter stated.

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Aqueduct vendors still await new space

As the Aqueduct Flea Market sold its final bits of affordable vintage clothing, jewelry and other necessities during the last two weeks of December, vendors still find themselves with nowhere to go.

The market was forced to close its door before Jan. 1.¬† because it didn’t fit in with construction plans scheduled for this year. Malaysian company, Genting, broke ground in October to start construction of the new racino gambling complex. As vendors rallied outside the flea market entrance during the groundbreaking ceremony, their protests were futile.

One vendor, Melissa Steadman, is unsure of what will happen. Her family has been selling used clothing at the market for over 10 years.

Queensborough President, Helen Marshall and Senator Joseph Addabbo, who represents the Howard Beach and Ozone Park area, are working on finding a new space for the 1,000 plus vendors.

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