Bid to open NYC casino emerges in state budget talks

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A bid to open a new casino in Manhattan or another part of New York City has emerged in 11th hour talks between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to finalize the overdue state budget, sources told The Post Monday night.

Legislative sources said Cuomo was behind a proposal that included the creation of a “community advisory board” in New York City to weigh on a site for a casino in the Big Apple, potentially in Manhattan.

Opponents say it’s a crapshoot.

“Cuomo is like a mad scientist in his lab drafting language for a new casino. Legislators in the Senate and Assembly are rejecting budget language giving the governor the authority to locate a casino in Manhattan,” said a city lawmaker who requested anonymity.

But the state senator who chairs the committee overseeing gambling issues confirmed that licensing of a downstate casino is part of budget talks.

“It’s being discussed. It’s part of budget negotiations,” said Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens).

State leaders were also finalizing a separate deal to legalize app-based, mobile sports betting.

Under current law, as many as three casinos can be authorized in the downstate region beginning in 2023 — identified as an area that encompasses the city, the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Cuomo had discussed putting out feelers for preliminary interest from casinos as part of his executive budget plan in January.

But in order to generate revenue, Cuomo and lawmakers are now talking about moving up the process for putting out formal request proposals and licensing a casino or casinos as part of the 2021-2022 budget.

Addabbo said a casino license could generate up to $500 million in revenue for state coffers.

The problem, Addabbo said, is that city lawmakers he’s spoken to have no appetite to open a casino on their turf, believing the negatives outweigh the positives.

“There’s a lot of opposition to opening a casino in Manhattan,” he said.

The Post obtained language of a bill that talks about “siting a gaming facility within the City of New York.”

The measure would create a New York City community advisory board to review casino applications.

The advisory board will consist 20 members; five each appointed by the governor, the senator majority leader and assembly speaker.

The 15 appointees on the board would appoint the other five members.

“Such advisory board shall have representatives of the area where the facility is to be located and any other impacted areas, which shall include but not be limited to: representatives of city government, community boards, the borough president, the city council, the mayor’s office and community stakeholders, as appropriate,” the bill draft states.

The members of advisory board would receive no compensation, but get reimbursed for expenses. Local elected officials would not be barred from serving on the casino siting panel.

As the Post reported last month, three large casino companies are salivating over a rare opportunity to bring a piece of the Las Vegas Strip to the Big Apple.

Wynn Resorts, Bally’s Corp. and Las Vegas Sands have been positioning themselves to compete for a New York City-area casino license.

The efforts have included talking to potential developer partners and wooing local politicians for support, sources said.

The push came before President Bush and Congress pumped $12.6 billion in stimulus funds into New York State coffers, lessening the need to raise revenues from casinos to balance the budget.

But Addabbo said, “The federal money doesn’t last. We needed the revenue.”

Cuomo and lawmakers also plan to wallop wealthy income taxpayers and corporations with more than $4 billion in tax hikes.

Locations being scouted for potential casino sites include Willets Point in Queens, where new Mets owner Steve Cohen leases the Citi Field ballpark and adjoining parking lots; the Belmont Park development in Long Island, which is already home to the Belmont Park racetrack and the Islanders stadium; and Staten Island’s St. George neighborhood — home to both the Staten Island Ferry and the Empire Outlets retail complex.

The gambling parlors located at Aqueduct and Yonkers racetracks could also apply to convert into full-fledged casinos with live table games. The “racinos” now only offer electronic slot games authorized by the Gaming Commission’s state Lottery Division.

Cuomo’s office had no immediate comment.

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