New York Casino Contracts 'Petri Dish of Corruption'

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Over the weekend, Politico explored the efforts to establish a casino in the New York City area and the lobby dollars behind it.  Their findings: It's an ‘absolute petri dish for corruption’.

Those lobbying firms have made at least $7.2 million over the past 14 months speed dialing decision-makers on behalf of gaming operators like Bally’s and Caesars, according to the Politico report.

One lobbyist said his client wants to turn part of a Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store into “‘a James Bond-type of Casino Royale,’” state Sen. Liz Krueger tells the media outlet.

The line of lobbyists looking to meet with her she decribed as "endless", this despite her negative stance on casino gambling.


“I’m pretty well known to just be anti-gambling, period, so I’ve even asked why they’re wasting their time.”

Politico's Janaki Chadha and Sally Goldenberg write:

And that is a fraction of the money being spent. The contestants are shelling out unreported sums for consulting, political strategy and public relations — contracts that are not required to be made public, unlike lobbying deals. Good government groups worry the mix of big money, fierce competition and political signoff creates a breeding ground for corruption.

New York Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council are mulling changes to the zoning law to allow for the opening of as many as three casinos in the Big Apple.

Proposed locations include Times Square, Hudson Yards, the Trump Golf Course at Ferry Point in the Bronx, Willets Point in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Under state law, the community advisory boards must give their stamp of approval before the state will even consider a proposed casino at a specific location in the five boroughs.

The city zoning law is apparently silent on the legality of casinos.

“The administration is in discussions with the City Council and our state partners to determine what, if any, zoning changes would be required in accordance with the state’s casino approval process,” a mayoral spokesman said Friday.

“Those discussions are ongoing, and no decisions have been made whatsoever about how best to proceed.

“The state siting board will decide where casinos get sited.”

Current laws forbid the state from overriding local zoning.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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