James Featherstonhaugh, chairman of the New York Gaming Association, representing the state’s eight racinos, says the opening of the new gaming facility at Aqueduct will generate a significant increase in tax revenue, and estimates the state would be able to collect at least $1 billion for education. Last year, racinos generated $547 million in revenues for education, plus $111 million to support the horse-racing industry. Additionally, State Lottery officials estimate that the Aqueduct racino is expected to generate $365 million in other yearly revenue for the state of New York.
The projection and possibility of almost doubling the contribution to education will also help gaming industry representatives to push the approval of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow full-fledged commercial casino gambling at non-Indian facilities. New York racetrack casinos, which have seen their revenues from horse racing slide over the years, are authorized only to offer video lottery slot machines regulated by the New York Lottery Division.
Currently, all New York racinos are calling for a constitutional amendment to allow them to expand into other casino gaming, including live table games such as blackjack and roulette. As reported in several media and news sites, New York residents spend between $3.1 billion and $5 billion playing at casinos in neighboring states such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania or New Jersey, which shows the state gaming industry would be able to generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue if they’re allowed to expand their offerings.