Could New York City get a full-fledged casino? - New York News

Could New York City get a full-fledged casino?

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Willets Point, an industrial area in the shadow of Citi Field, is set to undergo a major redevelopment and also a contender to be the site of a possible full-fledged casino. Coney Island in Brooklyn is also a potential location, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.

In 2011, Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens unveiled electronic slot machines and electronic games, which are legal in New York. The Resorts World "racino" has generated roughly half a billion dollars.

"I think from an economic point of view - we should take advantage of this phenomenon known as casino gambling," Silver said.

But there is one problem: full-fledged casino gambling is illegal in New York except when affiliated with an Indian tribe. Now the Legislature is taking steps towards changing that.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a casino in New York City makes sense.

"We should be able to get revenue for our needs here -- pay our teachers, pay our police officers, pay our firefighters," Bloomberg said. "And it's probably less regressive in New York City than anywhere else because you're going to have a lot more tourists coming and going to gamble in New York City than you would any other place in the state."

But Steve Malanga from the Manhattan Institute said that casinos often bring with them a rise in crime. He also said studies have shown casinos actually do little to help revive neighborhoods.

"It doesn't transform a neighborhood," he said. "If you think it does, you're kidding yourself. It actually siphons economic activity from other venues."

The idea for a potential casino is still in its early stages. Before any decision is made, district leaders in the potential locations would have to be on board, Silver said.

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