Opinion: Railbird T-Shirts Highlight Poker’s Problems with Mainstream Sponsors

There was a strange incident at the World Series of Poker on Monday evening, as roughly 10 members of a player’s rail (Sean Drake, who was competing in the Monster Stack final table) were wearing shirts that said, “Play Like Drake and Rape.”, which is apparently a #hashtag he uses on Twitter. I don’t go in for a lot of the “rape culture” stuff (I’m not very PC at all), but I would be utterly embarrassed to wear that shirt alone in my own house let alone in public. I can understand that one or two people may not have the social wherewithal to realize why saying/wearing “play like Drake and rape” is unacceptable in polite society, but for a contingent of about a dozen or so people to put on those shirts without a single one saying, “you know maybe we shouldn’t wear these?” absolutely blows my mind. On a side note I also sort of feel bad for Sean Drake, who had to deal with an issue created by his rail while he was playing for a WSOP bracelet and life-changing money. Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I’m NOT going to call for his sponsors to drop him or anything like that, I think that’s an overreaction at this stage and doesn’t help anyone. He’s a young kid (I’m assuming) and deserves a chance to stop using the phrase now that it’s been brought to his attention. Although from his tweets it doesn’t appear he will stop using his signature catchphrase… https://twitter.com/DaBabyDrake/status/483860782401089537 But he deserves a couple days to sleep on it. We all have said and done regrettable things at one time or another so let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill just yet. Ok, here’s my problems with this incident… It’s a Bad Joke to Begin With First off, “chip rape” is an inside joke. It’s something a small segment of the poker population uses and not some widely used slang term. Walking around in public with an inflammatory word on your shirt as a joke that only a small segment of the population will “get” demonstrates how out of touch some of the people in the poker world are. Pro tip: If you have to explain the humor in something it’s not funny. While I personally would immediately put two and two together that “play like Drake and rape” has something to do with poker, most people wouldn’t understand that slogan in the slightest. And now imagine the woman walking the Rio hallways who has been raped and sees you wearing a shirt that says “and Rape” emblazoned across the back? Rape is just one of those words that can cause any room to go silent. It’s not the N-word but it’s not something you joke around about in front of your grandma either. It doesn’t pass the grandma test. To put it in context, a lot of people will use racial/ethnic/sexual terms to describe certain qualities in their friends. The intent is not to disparage said group, and I doubt many of these people are anti-Semites or bigots or anti-woman. BUT, what you won’t see these people do is put it on a T-Shirt and go out in public. There is something in their head that clicks in and says, it’s acceptable when I’m with a small circle of friends but not acceptable in the wider world where it will cause offense or truly hurt someone. Now, I doubt any of the people wearing these shirts had bad intentions or are mean-spirited, and in their circle the phrase may be completely normal (so it may be they are just desensitized to it), but sometimes you have to look beyond your circle. It’s not that anyone thinks you’re advocating rape by wearing the shirt, it’s that you’re being insensitive to the issue and to the victims of the actual crime of rape. There Is No 1st Amendment Issue Here I only saw one instance of this on Twitter (not that I read more than a couple of threads on it) but the First Amendment protects you from the government infringing on your speech – you know, coming to your house to arrest you because you criticized Obama, or confiscating your protest signs and things like that. It does not allow you to say or do anything on private property, which the Rio is. The Rio is allowed to remove anyone at anytime for virtually any reason, and wearing a shirt that says “Play Like Drake” on one side, and “and Rape” on the other is certainly more than enough reason to get the old heave-ho in my opinion. Kids are asked to remove shirts with different slogans at school all the time, restaurants have dress codes (as do casinos), people are denied access to airplanes, and on and on and on. If you wear a shirt with curse words or threats of violence on it people are well within their rights to complain about it and any private company (remember, the Rio is not the public square) can ask you to remove the shirt or get out. The intent of the shirt may be benign, but as I said above not everyone understands the intent and when you tell jokes in poor taste they can sometimes blow up in your face when people don’t see the humor in your remarks Ask Michael Richards (Kramer) what happens when you use a disparaging word and the audience doesn’t get the joke. Don’t Blame the WSOP When it comes to things like this it’s hard to fault a company for taking their time and being diligent. The shirts were removed (according to reports no more than two hours went by from the time the shirts were first seen and the time they were removed) and considering this is something that has to go up the corporate food chain they were probably dealt with as fast as possible. They would have to have the shirts brought to someone’s attention; that person would then likely have to go find their boss (who might bring it to his boss); then they would have to quickly see if the report is true and investigate what the shirts say; then they would have to decide on how to handle it. There is a lot going on at the Rio during the WSOP and it’s hard to say they didn’t react quickly enough. Basically, as much as we’d want it taken care of in 10 minutes it’s logistically complicated. I Don’t Agree With Keeping Things Quiet Though As some people have said on Twitter most companies would handle this quickly and quietly (as it appears Caesars did), but to me that’s not the right way to handle it all. A public showing by the WSOP, such as kicking out all the people wearing the shirts would show the world (and particularly the poker world) that this type of amateur hour trash talking has no place at this level, and will not be tolerated at the WSOP. It’s straight bush league stuff. You want to act a fool and make juvenile jokes do it in your basement around your homemade poker table or online. The World Series of Poker should command more respect from the players and the fans than to bring their silly little online taunts into the Rio. This type of crap needs to be stamped out by the WSOP and by the poker community. This game isn’t going to grow if a rail is wearing shirts anywhere near as insensitive as these. Say bye-bye to any mainstream sponsors if something 1/2 as offensive pops up on ESPN’s coverage Further reading: And of course the shirts: *Edit: This tweet has since been deleted. https://twitter.com/ChilliGirl13/status/483738394908819456

The Moneymaker Effect: Eric Raskin’s Instant Poker Classic

2014 has been a terrific year for poker books. First I was pleasantly surprised by Dutch Boyd’s self-published contribution to the poker pantheon, and soon after finishing Dutch’s Poker Tilt I dug into Eric Raskin’s The Moneymaker Effect: The Inside Story of the Tournament That Forever Changed Poker, a continuation/expansion of his 2013 Grantland.com article When We Held Kings, which is the single best poker article I have ever read, and I have reread the entire thing multiple times. Both of these books (Poker Tilt and The Moneymaker Effect) are instant classics, and were immediately thrust into my Top 10 Poker Books of all-time list, right alongside Positively Fifth Street, Big Deal, Ghosts at the Table, The Biggest Game in Town, One of a Kind, Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything, The Professor the Banker and the Suicide King, and several other great tomes I’m probably overlooking at the moment. A Great Writer + A Great Story = Instant Classic If you haven’t gotten the message, let me be very clear: I did not like The Moneymaker Effect, I absolutely loved it. I tore through this highly readable book in two sittings, devouring the “stories behind the story” of Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 World Series of Poker victory. As I read through The Moneymaker Effect I could envision the ESPN broadcast of the 2003 Main Event that I have probably watched dozens of times appearing on the pages, and could vividly recount the hands that I haven’t seen in over five years unfolding on every page I turned. I could visualize the conversations in the hallways of Binions (a place I have never set foot in) between people (some I have never met) vividly, and that is a testament to Eric Raskin’s storytelling ability. Beyond being a page turner, the information in this book is an extremely important piece of poker history, and had Raskin not chronicled these behind the scenes missives and anecdotes I have a feeling most of it would have been lost to time, like so many other poker tales that live on somewhere between legend and reality. Seriously, who is going to approach Annie Duke and Howard Lederer in 2014 for their thoughts on the 2003 WSOP? Who had even heard of the name David Gamble before Raskin brought Moneymaker’s “other” backer to light in his Grantland piece? Who would think it important enough to track down the producers and A/V guys from ESPN and 441 Productions? Who would have had the foresight to not just interview Norman Chad and Lon McEachern but to make their journey to the 2003 WSOP an interesting plot line? This was the defining poker moment of our era (and perhaps the defining moment in poker history) and had Raskin not chronicled what happened behind the scenes and what the general feeling of the poker community was at the time it would almost certainly have fallen by the wayside. T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You) Reading The Moneymaker Effect brought me back to 2002/2003 when there was a certain charm and innocence to poker. When the poker world was little more than a small collection of players struggling to make it in a cutthroat world when suddenly a Golden Egg laying goose fell in their lap, with the apt name of Moneymaker. Moneymaker not only lit the fuse for the Poker Boom but he also bridged the gap between the familiarity and closeness of the live poker community pre-Internet poker and the globalization and anonymity of online poker. Sammy Farha was the known quantity, part of the clique, and Moneymaker was the unknown outsider. The unknown outsider won and poker was changed in an instant. The following year thousands of unknowns showed up at what had once been a private party, and the next year thousands more from every corner of the globe arrived, all set on becoming the next Chris Moneymaker. As someone who lived through that period in the poker world I think Raskin and the numerous people he interviewed captured it all perfectly: We all knew something important had just happened and that poker was about to change, but nobody anticipated just how important that moment was or how pronounced the change would be. Even as the 2003 WSOP was playing out in real-time the biggest story on the poker forums of the day was Dutch Boyd and the money he owed from PokerSpot. It wasn’t until Chris Moneymaker won that it even started to dawn on people what had just occurred. Every subsequent trip I took to Foxwoods I saw more and more new faces; anonymous faces. Faces that had that “sky’s the limit look on them.” I saw Limit Holdem and Stud tables give way to No Limit games; an unheard of cash game structure prior to 2003. It wasn’t overnight, but the floodgates had been opened, and slowly but surely, day by day, it dawned on everyone that the Poker Boom was upon us. To hear Raskin and the people involved with the 2003 WSOP tell their versions of what happened allowed me to relive this period in time (and it was a hell of a period for poker players) and if you weren’t involved in poker back then, if you were a product of The Moneymaker Effect and the Poker Boom picking up a copy of Eric Raskin’s The Moneymaker Effect will give you a chance to see what it was like to live through this time. You can purchase the Moneymaker Effect at Amazon.com in either paperback or Kindle format. And for those of you who got the T.R.O.Y. reference

Local NY Communities Growing Impatient With Cuomo And Seneca Standoff

Contents
1 Niagara, Buffalo feeling the squeeze the hardest
2 Seneca still open to meeting with Cuomo Some New York communities are starting to worry about the ongoing stalemate with Seneca Nation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and tribal leaders still have not met to discuss the fact Seneca ceased payments from its three New York casinos. In the meantime, some communities are coming to terms with the ensuing loss of revenue. For some towns, it is an inconveniece. For others, it is a massive blow to their operational budgets. Niagara, Buffalo feeling the squeeze the hardest In March, Seneca announced no more payments from the casino were coming. In the tribe’s eyes, the compact with the state clearly stipulated payments ended after 14 years, even though the tribe and the state extended their agreement beyond that point. The tribes issued their last payment in March. Over four month later, several communities used to getting payments from Seneca are starting to worry. One place hit harder than the rest is Niagara Falls, home of Seneca Niagara Casino. The city previously relied on Seneca payments for over 15 percent of its operational budget. Now that those payments are gone, Niagara Falls is struggling. In fact, just last week, Standard & Poors downgraded the city’s credit rating from “neutral” to “negative.” The lack of income from Seneca is the chief reason the rating changed. For Niagara Falls mayor Paul Dyster, his inability to fix the situation is frustrating. “It seems unfair to us, that we have to worry about our bond rating potentially being downgraded in the future when the dispute basically has nothing to do with us,” he told local news outlet WGRZ. Buffalo is another big city hurting the past few months. Between the city budget and the Erie County budget, the Buffalo area is dealing with more than $10 million less than usual. Like Niagara Falls, Buffalo officials are hoping Cuomo and the tribes will reach a solution sooner rather than later. Seneca still open to meeting with Cuomo Local lawmakers are eager for Cuomo and Seneca representatives to meet. Cuomo and Seneca representatives do not seem in any hurry though. Seneca representative Phil Pantano acknowledged he hears these concerns when he spoke with The Buffalo News: Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopari was a little more aggressive in his statement to the paper. He plainly stated Cuomo believes the tribe is in the wrong. He also warned that legal action could be coming. Where does that leave Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and other communities desperate for a resolution? Not with many options, unfortunately. For now, all they cando is continually call Cuomo’s office and implore him to address the problem sooner rather than later.

Cuomo Drops The Mic On Seneca. Things Just Got Real.

Contents
1 Cuomo threatens to open new casino in Seneca territory
2 Seneca balks at idea of new casino After months of uncertainty about relations between Seneca and New York state, it is now very clear where both parties stand. That clarity did not come from a meeting between the two parties, unfortunately. Instead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a stand in the press. Now Seneca Nation and the state are playing a giant game of chicken. Cuomo threatens to open new casino in Seneca territory Cuomo attended an economic development meeting on Tuesday. He made his first public comments on the Seneca negotiations, which were not exactly friendly. Buffalo News reported Cuomo not only is not open to negotiate, he is ready to break the non-compete element of the compact. Cuomo and Seneca are at odds over what exactly the terms of the compact entail. Earlier this year, Seneca Nation announced it would no longer be making payments to the state from earnings of its three New York casinos. According to tribal representatives, their obligation to pay ended in December of last year. However, the state and the tribes mutually agreed to extend the compact through 2023. The problem is the extension did not include specific language indicating the tribe’s obligation to pay went through 2023 as well. Things got serious when Seneca missed its first scheduled payment in July. Once local lawmakers realized the tribes were not bluffing, they started worrying. Many of them reached out to Cuomo’s office begging him to talk with tribal leaders. After five months with no meeting between the two parties, Cuomo did not exactly take their advice. Seneca balks at idea of new casino A major component of the casino compact is exclusivity in the northernmost part of the state. The value of that exclusivity arguable dipped when Cuomo allowed commercial casinos to open upstate though. Competitors like Rivers and del Lago are already close to Seneca turf. Now Cuomo is ready to go after Niagara and Buffalo, homes of two of the three Seneca casinos. Seneca Nation President Todd Gates hinted at the new competition in his response to Cuomo’s new casino threat. “It will do poorly,” he said. “The market is saturated.” He also called Cuomo’s actions shameful, and said he was angry on behalf of his tribe. He has a point about market saturation too. Both Rivers Casino and del Lago revenues are not meeting expectations. As a result, many experts believe the New York casino market cannot sustain all four of the commercial properties upstate. More than the statement itself, tribal leaders are angry that Cuomo put off a meeting to negotiate with excuses, knowing he never planned to engage them. Meanwhile, local lawmakers are caught in the middle. They are also the people whose communities benefit most from the $110 million in annual payments from Seneca. Niagara Mayor Paul Dyster issued a statement about Tuesday’s events. In it, he acknowledges his preference is a negotiation, not this increasingly volatile standoff:

Nobody’s Going To Put This Catskills Resort In The Corner

Contents
1 Grossinger’s used to be the top Catskills resort
2 Are the hopes for Resorts World too high though? If a certain New Yorker gets his way, “Dirty Dancing” is going to be more than just a movie. Louis Cappelli is hoping to revive the Catskills resort Grossinger’s, which inspired the fictional Kellerman’s from the movie. He hopes the forthcoming Resorts World Catskills will renew enough interest in the region to restore it to its mid-century glory days. Grossinger’s used to be the top Catskills resort In the 1950s, Grossinger’s was the place to visit in the upstate New York area. The property even hosted scandalous wedding between Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fischer. Now though, the property is, well, a dump. The estate is in such disarray that Cappelli applied to the state to classify a portion of it as contaminated. He hopes the designation, and the government funding that comes with it, is the first step in its revitalization. He told the New York Times he has high hopes that now is the time to bring Grossinger’s into the 21st century: Cappelli and Grossinger’s have no affiliation with Resorts World. Nonetheless, the idea of a major Catskills resort rejunivating the area has plenty of people nostalgic for more than just Patrick Swayze. Rather than create a retro version of Grossinger’s straight out of the 50s, Cappelli envisions a more modern hotel. Instead of ballroom dancing and Vaudeville entertainers, he hopes for yoga and contemporary fine dining. Are the hopes for Resorts World too high though? Certainly the idea of once again having the time of your life in the Catskills sounds appealing. However the numbers coming out of the other upstate New York casinos so far are not anything to dance about. So far, the three new commercial casinos in the upstate area are universally struggling. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it is too early to jump to any conclusions about the new properties. He certainly hopes they find their way soon, as he is the one who okayed four new upstate properties. Resorts World Catskills is the last of the group to open. When it opens, it will be competing with Tioga Downs, Rivers Casino, and del Lago, which all opened in the last year. Meanwhile, Resorts World is still not scheduled to open for another six months in March of 2018. Those within the casino industry say the region is too oversaturated for these upstate casinos to succeed. The NY Gaming Commission is more optimistic though. Representative for the commission, Lee Park, told the Lockport Journal it would be more accurate to assess the success of these casinos after the third year of operation. Senate Gaming Committee chair Sen. John Bonciac actually thinks Resorts World will help revenues. However, these current numbers are hard to completely ignore. In other words, don’t put on your dancing shoes and plan your trip to Grossinger’s just yet.

Bonacic Says Sports Betting Could Save Sagging NY Casino Revenues

Contents
1 AGA panel focused on casinos’ impact on local communities
2 Sports betting, not online poker, seen as the golden goose Lately there has been more bad news than good news for the New York casino industry. There is the headline-drawing fight between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Seneca Nation. And, of course, there is the increasingly disconcerting fact those new commercial casinos upstate are not living up to expectations. Thankfully, there were some optimistic moments in this week’s American Gambling Association-hosted panel at Rivers Casino in Schenectady, NY. AGA panel focused on casinos’ impact on local communities Perhaps it is because people are criticizing these NY casinos, the American Gambling Association (AGA) hosted its recent panel. Certainly some of the discussion included lackluster revenues. However, there were more positive takes than negative coming out of the event. For example, Rivers staffers tried to play down revenues and play up the job market. The new casino generated over 1,100 permanent new jobs. That is not even accounting for the work construction of the property created either. Even better news on the job front is that turnover in the area is below state average, coming in at 32 percent. Despite less tax revenue for the area than expected so far, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy remained optimistic: Given that the area Rivers exists on was an abandoned site for several decades prior, the area seems happy with progress, even if it is slow. Sports betting, not online poker, seen as the golden goose In terms of progress, 2017 was not the worst year for bringing online poker to New York. The state Senate voted yes in the bill, but it died in the state Assembly. This happened in 2016 as well. The difference is, thanks to a new law, the bill will pick back up where it left off in 2018. However, based on this meeting, it sounds like casino operators think there is a different means to generate revenue for casinos: sports betting. In fact, the very lawmaker who introduced the online poker bill in the Senate at the beginning of the year is at the forefront of this new idea. State Sen. John Bonacic spoke about the merits of sports betting at the meeting: The Legislative Gazette also reported similar sentiments from AGA spokesman Paul Doty: The NJ case is in the midst of filing briefs before SCOTUS hears argument later this year. Should the court overturn the federal sports betting law, several states will likely clamor to get in on the multi-billion dollar industry. Given how much gambling revenue New York already loses to New Jersey, it makes sense to get in on sports betting on the ground floor since its neighbor most assuredly will be. Photo by BravoKiloVideo / Shutterstock.com

New Report Shows Just How Off 2017 Casino Revenue Projections Will Be

Contents
1 Tioga Downs only halfway to $103 million projection
2 Rivers Casino poker is booming, but not much else is
3 del Lago might be faring worst of all People within the New York casino industry have been talking for months about how disappointing revenue at the new casinos is. These conversations tend towards the general though. Thanks to a new report from the Albany Times-Union, it is now clear exactly how every facet of the three upstate casinos are performing. The report looks at each casino’s projected revenue compared to how much each property generated so far in 2017. Additionally, it looks at how slots, table games, and the poker rooms are performing at each site. Tioga Downs only halfway to $103 million projection Tioga Downs is the smallest of the three new upstate casinos. It did have one competitive advantage though, in that it was first to market. The casino opened in Deeember of 2016. Technically, the casino existed before that as a race track and video slots parlor. Now it is a 1,000-slot casino with table games and a poker room. The state expected roughly $103 million in revenue this year. Through August, the property has roughly half that with $52 million in revenue. Tioga Downs has an average win of $197 per slot each day. Table games do not bode as well. There are 32 different tables at Tioga which collectively take in around $200,000 each month. As for the 16-table poker room? It barely has a pulse. It has not generated more than $20,000 a week in rake since May. Nonetheless, of the three, Tioga Downs is actually the property closest to on track for the year, which is truly saying something about the performance of both Rivers Casino Schenectady and del Lago Casino. Rivers Casino poker is booming, but not much else is Perhaps the real problem at the heart of Rivers Casino’s revenue is that expectations were too high. After all, of the three properties, it is the one with the best average win per slot machine at $222. In addition to the 1,100 slots on site, Rivers also boasts a very successful poker room. As noted, Tioga Downs’ poker scene is basically non-existent. Meanwhile, Rivers management put time and effort into developing a poker scene by hosting tournament series and televised poker program Poker Night in America. The result is a room that generates over $100,000 in rake each week. During peak times, like its Memorial Day tournament, the number jumped to over $180,000. Another important spike came during the weekend the casino’s partner Landing Hotel launched and table games had a week’s take of over $2 million. Comparatively, the property’s table games return fluctuate between $600,000 and $1 million. That is the best performance of all three casinos. This despite the fact Rivers has 67 table games compared to the 99 at del Lago. Nonetheless, the property’s $82 million in revenue generated since its February opening is a far cry from the $222 million expected in 2017. That number came directly from Rivers when submitting for its casino license. Needless to say, it is unlikely the property finishes above $200 million, let alone up to projections. del Lago might be faring worst of all Rivers Casino is not living up to projections, but at least it is performing better than the competitors in most key categories. The same cannot be said for the biggest casino of the three, del Lago. With 99 table games and 2,000 slot machines, the property still only has $88 million in revenue on the year. In part because of just how many machines there are, the slot win is a mere $155/day. Meanwhile, table games revenue struggles to exceed $1 million per week. At times, the return from those casino games is just $200,000 or $300,000 for a seven-day period. At least the 14-table poker room fares better than Tioga Downs with around $50,000 a week in rake, but that is not going to be nearly enough to meet projections. So far, del Lago has generated just one-third of the projected $263 million in revenue this year. With slots, table games, and poker all on a downward decline, this is the casino arguably in the most financial trouble. Of course, lawmakers in the state have insisted there is nothing to worry about, but unless expectations are greatly revised, it appears these casinos will continue to disappoint for quite a while, especially with another casino, Resorts World Catskills, scheduled to enter the crowded marketplace.

Read Schenectady’s Lips: Rivers Casino Means Lower Taxes

Contents
1 Schenectady wants to drop property taxes 1 percent
2 Not every county benefits as much from Rivers Casino Most of the headlines coming out of New York regarding casinos is not positive. Just last week, we provided some context to just how much the new upstate NY casinos are underperforming. Certainly lawmakers are looking at other avenues to pad those revenue numbers. Online poker will be back in the discussion this year. Sports betting is also getting some time at the table. Still though, there are some positive things coming from these new properties. Schenectady County can attest to that. Schenectady wants to drop property taxes 1 percent Last week, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy proposed a 1 percent decrease in the county’s property taxes next year. if it goes, this would be the third-straight year the county reduced taxes. Last year, local lawmakers agreed to reduce taxes four percent. The 2016 reduction came about because lawmakers assumed the projections about Rivers Casino revenue would be in line with the property’s actual performance. What is encouraging is that, even though the casino is underperforming, taxes are still trending down. The latest budget from the county expects $30.78 million in tax revenue from Rivers next year. That is $1 million higher than 2017 numbers. A one percent tax decrease may not sound that impressive. It does amount to about $13 in taxes per individual. More importantly, it is helping establish a trend in a county with the highest combined county, city, and school property taxes in the area. Even with the underwhelming performance, McCarthy is still thrilled with the property so far, per the Daily Gazette: Not every county benefits as much from Rivers Casino Certainly Schenectady County is happy enough with Rivers Casino so far. Not every county benefits quite as much as that one though. Rivers pays 10 percent tax on table games earnings and a state-high 45 percent on slot machines. The state divies up the money as follows:
80 percent to schools
10 percent to Schenectady County and the city of Schenectady
10 percent divided among surrounding counties “There’s no question it’s a significant amount of money,” said Saratoga County Administrator Spencer Hellwig told the Daily Gazette. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can’t discount it as immaterial.” However, not every county relies heavily on Rivers the way Schenectady is. As Matthew Osenfort of Montgomery County explains, it is enough money to be useful, but it is not going to a difference-maker when lawmakers put together a budget. Nonetheless, there is something good coming out of these upstate casinos, even though the revenues still have a long way to go.

Cuomo Tells Niagara Falls No Dice On Budget Relief After Seneca Payment Stoppage

Contents
1 Cuomo ignores Niagara’s pleas
2 While Niagara begs for help, Cuomo giving aid to other NY cities
3 Local governments too reliant on casino funds New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is more than happy to leave Niagara Falls hanging. He recently announced the state will offer no relief for the casino city and tourist town in the wake of Seneca Nation’s payment stoppage on its four tribal casino properties. Cuomo ignores Niagara’s pleas Niagara Falls might be the town most hurt by the bitter, heated battle between Seneca leadership and Cuomo over the terms of the tribal casino compact. Cuomo has no sympathy though. His statement is laced with jabs at Niagara for expecting too much support from the state: Interstingly, Niagara Mayor Paul Dystra also invoked the word unfair earlier this year when discussing the state’s Seneca feud: Here is why Dystra arguably has a stronger point. For the past several months, Seneca representatives essentially begged Cuomo to meet with them and discuss some sort of compromise. Cuomo responded with radio silence. Then, Cuomo publicly refused to meet with them. Moreover, he threatened to build another NY commercial casino in Niagara. Meanwhile, some legal experts claim the state does not have a strong case when it comes to compact language. While Niagara begs for help, Cuomo giving aid to other NY cities To add injury to Cuomo’s public insults, the Governor’s office recently announced it was helping another northern New York city’s economic development. Earlier this month, Cuomo announced the state was giving upstate city Tonawanda $2.5 million to put towards economic development. He followed that up with an announcement another $10 million in state funds would go to Genessee County. By comparison, the state has not aided Niagara in nearly 10 years. City Council member Kenny Tompkins expressed his frustration to local news outlets: Seneca Nation and the state are currently in the planning stages for binding arbitration. This is a process that could take several years. In fact, the last time the two groups went into binding arbitration, it took four years to reach a resolution. Local governments too reliant on casino funds This timetable is why Dyster is not the only person complaining that local governments are unfairly suffering. However, Dyster is arguably a cautionary tale is in own right. Consider this, from the Niagara Falls Reporter: Also per the Reporter, the state Comptroller says Niagara Falls will be completely broke by year’s end without state intervention. Befor Seneca stopped payments on its tribal casinos, they contributed roughly 15 percent of the city’s total operational budget. With financial woes that dire, tax increases are on the horizon. Dyster currently has a proposal with a three percent hike for residents. Additionally, he wants a 14 percent increase for local businesses. Those numbers could go higher in the years to come as well. Photo by Anna_Land / Shutterstock.com