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DiNapoli: New Yorkers will generate much of the revenue at upcoming casinos

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

New York residents will handle much of the betting and generate much of the revenue at the upcoming Upstate casinos, even though the new facilities will attract people from out of state.

That’s the conclusion in a report that New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released Friday.

It also concludes that the introduction of casinos will likely produce new revenue for the state, partly because gaming is taxed at a higher rate than other consumer expenditures, according to DiNapoli’s office.

“Every day, New Yorkers scratch off tickets or play the odds in hopes of hitting a big winner. The payoff for the state is significant [with] billions … coming into state coffers. In fact, New York collects more in gambling revenues than any other state in the nation,” DiNapoli said in the news release. “Now with a new expansion underway, more casinos will mean more gaming revenue and new jobs, but the long-term impact for the state remains unclear. It will inevitably create both winners and losers in the years ahead.”

“Such activity primarily represents substitution of spending on casino gambling for other consumer purchases or spending at other existing gaming venues, such as OTB [off track betting] centers,” according to the news release posted at DiNapoli’s website.

Because of this substitution effect, estimates of employment and revenue gains from new casinos must reflect potential losses and transfers of existing consumer spending, the office said.

New York should expect some net employment gain from the casinos, but it is “likely” that they’ll cost the state some “existing jobs” as well, the report found.

The New York State Division of the Budget’s (DOB) estimate of 2,900 permanent new jobs and 6,700 temporary construction jobs is a net figure that assumes certain losses of existing jobs.

Even though DOB has released broad estimates associated with the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act, specific projections for revenues from the new casinos and new video-lottery terminals are not yet available, DiNapoli’s office said.

DiNapoli’s report also found that New York’s dependence on gaming revenues has grown over the past two decades. It also found the share of state aid to school districts, which includes lottery revenues, is smaller now than in 1967, the year that the state created the New York State Lottery.

State aid represented 39 percent of school-district revenues, including 5 percent from the lottery, in the 2012-13 school year. In the 1967-68 academic year, the first year of the lottery, the state provided 43 percent of total school revenues, according to DiNapoli's office.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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