New York lawmakers appear willing to roll the dice on full-fledged casinos in the New York City area. But they're pushing to make sure that local officials have a say in where they're located.
Governor Kathy Hochul's office and key lawmakers have been negotiating a plan to fast-track the approval of the state's final three casino licenses and work them into the budget.
If passed, the state would begin the approval process in 2022, a year ahead of schedule.
Developers are salivating over the chance to set up full-scale casinos in the nation's largest untapped market and Democratic lawmakers have signaled they are open to a casino, but only if representatives from the local community are allowed input.
Gary Pretlow is a Mount Vernon Democrat who chairs the Assembly's racing and wagering committee. He says Assembly Democrats are committed to some measure of local control over where the casinos are actually located.
"If nobody wants it there, then we're not going to try to force it on them because someone is offering $10 billion to build a casino."
Pretlow floated the idea of bringing borough presidents, community board representatives and city council members into the mix.
Recent negotiations have focused on exactly that issue, according to Senator Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat who chairs his chamber's wagering committee.
"What does it look like? Does it look like a council built up of elected officials and community people? What does it look like? And I think that's where we're at at this point," said Addabbo.
Hochul and lawmakers are poised to miss the state’s budget deadline ahead of the start of a new fiscal year.
Now, they’re hoping to approve a budget by Monday. Otherwise, the Comptroller’s Office says the state may not be able to make payroll.