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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Table Games to New York?

As I have been predicting for a long time, there is now a proposal to bring table games to New York, spearheaded by Jeff Gural who owns Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.  In fact, all the racetracks have gotten together to form the New York Gaming Association to lobby state officials that racetracks are a logical place for the expansion of gaming in the state.

If implemented as the New York tracks want, all revenue would be split between the state and racetracks with no revenue going to the horsemen.  Gural cites the fact introduction of table games increases the amount of slot play which would benefit horsemen and being this is New York, it will keep more gamblers looking for a full casino experience in New York instead of in Connecticut and Atlantic City and attract even more New Jersey residents to the Empire state where the only New Jersey gambling location is about 3.5 hours away from Yonkers.

Sounds logical doesn't it? Of course this is New York which means Joe Faraldo is leading opposition to the New York Gaming Association's proposal fearing a loss of revenue to the horsemen despite what is happening in Pennsylvania. Faraldo's testimony can be found here.

Now, Faraldo does have a legitimate concern in protecting the horsemen's interests to make sure their purse accounts do not suffer.  For example, if there is a lower tax rate on roulette and craps tables than the lottery version, expect the electronic version of which horsemen get a share to be thrown into the garbage heap in favor of the table version.  I think some protection of the horsemen's interest can be included in any legislation that would give horsemen a share of the table game revenue from roulette and craps if the revenue lost by removing or competing against the electronic version is not made up by play on the slot machines.  I also think there should be a guarantee that the revenue individual horsemen purse accounts many not fall below the prior year's level unless total play at the casino declines. 

The key is both sides can come out ahead as long as reasonable heads prevail.  Of course, unless a constitutional amendment is passed; it is all a moot point.  One thing I know is unless the horsemen work with the racetracks and vice versa, instead of racetracks getting table games, traditional casinos will arise.  The ironic thing about that is it will be the Atlantic City casinos opening up across the New Jersey border.