Commercial casinos in New York have every reason to expect good news this week as Governor Cuomo hinted during a conference call with reporters Sunday, a positive news announcement is coming. Obviously, the governor has heard the voice of the casino workers who rallied outside the Capitol August 20, asking him to provide guidance on reopening of casinos.
Casinos Are Still Waiting for Reopen Date
Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the 4 commercial casinos and the 11 racinos in the state will receive their guidance on re-opening this week and probably get their reopen date. The gambling establishments were closed down mid-March to comply with the state order for non-essential businesses and remained shut down ever since, despite most of the other businesses being given a green light to re-open.
The governor was subdued to heavy criticism for not allowing the gambling venues to resume operations, especially on the background of the reopening of the casinos run by Native American nations. Six upstate casinos operated by the Oneida and Seneca nations resumed operations in June.
The situations looks even worse considering the fact that Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut also reopened in June, while casinos in Atlantic City restarted business July 12. Maine’s two casinos also reopened in July, leaving New York as the only state in the region to keep casinos shut.
More Delays Could Cost Jobs
Owners of the commercial casinos raised their fears that the delayed reopening of the businesses could lead to 5,000 jobs lost for the state, and Governor Cuomo expressed his understanding for their situation.
“I understand their point, I understand their economic reality, I understand the feeling that you see other places opening up but you still can’t go back to work.”New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo told reporters that the state is looking to strike a balance between the interests of the people who work in the casinos and the risk of the gambling establishments to potentially become hotspots for transmission of the deadly virus, which already claimed the lives of more than 25,000 people in the state.
The state collects annually over $3 billion in gaming revenue, ranging from fantasy sports to slot machines in the local casinos, but due to the mass closure of the gaming establishments, that revenue dropped down by $600 million so far, Freeman Klopott, a spokesman for the budget office of the state explained.
New York is expecting a $14.5 billion deficit in 2020, but while the gaming revenue stream is drying up, funds allocated to schools remain intact, the difference being covered from the state’s general fund.