On The Media

Gambling on the Future

Friday, December 07, 2012

Last week the popular prediction market Intrade announced it would shut its doors to Americans after being sued by US regulators. US regulators have accused InTrade of violating the ban on off-exchange options trading - in other words, gambling. But others argue that sites like InTrade can be better predictors than pundits or polls. The New York Times’ Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt makes the case for prediction markets to Bob.

White Rabbits - Back For More

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Gambling Industry Pours Millions Into State Politics, Report Finds

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


As the Cuomo administration continues its push to expand casinos in New York State, the gambling industry is spending large sums of money to influence that process, according to a report.


New Jersey News

Betting on the Future of Gambling in New Jersey

Monday, August 06, 2012

The future of gambling in New Jersey continues to take center stage for industry leaders and lawmakers in Trenton and Washington, D.C. Over the past several months, state and national legislators have drafted more than a dozen bills to expand gaming in the state to include sports betting, gambling via the Internet and mobile apps, and wagering at horsetracks and at special events. Some of these activities are already being implemented at the state level despite violating federal law.

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The Takeaway

Should Sports Gambling Be Legal?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced last week that he will defy a federal ban on sports gambling and that he hopes to let New Jersey residents legally bet on sporting events by fall of this year. His chances of success seem slim, but his outspokenness has reinvigorated national debate on the topic. Sports gambling: should it be legal?

Comments [1]

The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

How will Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann go about creating the Congressional maps that Albany lawmakers failed to agree on by March 12th? What criteria should inform her decision-making? Will she work from previous maps, or start from scratch? To what extent will incumbency be a factor? Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner has some thoughts on the subject.

New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh on enhanced casino gambling.

Keith Pickett, the Executive Director of the Center for Problem Gambling on enhanced casino gambling and its relationship to problem gambling.

Former Special Counsel to Governor David Paterson, Peter Kiernan shares a look back at some of the political calculations made at the very beginning of the hydrofracking debate in New York State. Kiernan is participating in today’s ‘standing-room only’ Warren Anderson Breakfast conversation on the issue in the Capitol’s Assembly Parlor from 8am – 9am.

And Marina Marcou-O'Malley, Policy Analyst for Alliance for Quality Education and Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, join us with yet another reason why pre-k education should be fully funded.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

Voters continue to love the Gov, but support for effort to legalize gambling drops

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

How many more ways can it be said: New York voters continue to give Governor Andrew Cuomo high marks--the highest of any governor in the states polled--according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Cuomo's job approval rating is at 69 percent among all voters, and 64 percent among Republicans. This is up ever so slightly from his 68 percent approval rating back in December. Likewise, 64 percent of those polled like him as a person.

"When will the honeymoon end? Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job approval numbers moved up last year and they stay up. New Yorkers like him as a person and, equally, they like his policies,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.

They might like him, but voters are split when it comes to the process to make gambling in New York State legal.

While 54 percent of those polled supported creating a destination casino resort, on par with what's available in Atlantic City, the support for changing the constitution to do so slipped to 50 percent. And an interesting gender divide has emerged: whereas only 44 percent of women support the constitutional change, 56 percent of the men polled are in favor of it.

The poll was conducted between February 8 and 13. Quinnipiac survey 1,233 New York State voters. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

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The Empire

Cuomo poll numbers remain high, as voters turn a corner on state's direction

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo can't get high enough. At least not with votes.

Which is to say: according to a new NY1/YNN-Marist poll, 58 percent of New Yokers surveyed approve of the job the Governor's doing. This is up from 55 percent in the previous NY1/YNN-Marist.

New Yorker's are also feeling better about the direction the state's headed in. For the first time in nearly a decade, a majority of voters--52 percent--feel the state is moving in the right direction. The last time this was the case? 2002.

“This represents a dramatic shift in public sentiment after a decade of frustration,” said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in a statement. “Positive reaction to Governor Cuomo is influencing how voters feel about the future of New York.”

Other highlights from the poll:

  • 65 percent of registered voters in New York approve of how Governor Andrew Cuomo is handling the state’s budget
  • Half of those polled now support allowing non-Indian gambling in New York, down from 60 percent in November
  • The State Senate's approval numbers are up 7 points to 19 percent last November
  • The Assembly also saw a bump, but smaller: 24 percent approve, up 4 points from before

The survey of 681 New York State adults was conducted on January 18th and 19th, with a margin of plus or minus of 4 percentage points. There were 554 registered voters in the pool, their subset having a margin of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

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As NY Takes a Fresh Look at Casinos, Decades-Old Gambling Parlors Still Bustle in Chinatown

Monday, January 23, 2012

At a community center on Division Street in Manhattan, a 59-year old Chinese immigrant in a baggy grey sweater and a baseball cap pulled low recently was helping elderly residents sign up for free classes.

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The Empire

'The Capital Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Andrew Cuomo knows how to generate political capital and use it sparingly. According to state financing expert Robert Ward of the Rockefeller Institute, last year the Governor "didn't use the extraordinary language--in-appropriations powers" created by Robert Megna and used by former Governor David Paterson, "but still achieved an incredible array of successes". Today, Ward joins us with analysis of the budget process and Cuomo's expert use of it.

Larry Levy, Executive Dean at Hofstra's National Center for Suburban Studies, will be here with analysis of what the particular demographics around the state want to hear from the budget.

Pentecostal preacher & the lone standing member of the 4 Amigos, Senator Ruben Diaz is a well-known contrarian who stands firmly against the Governor's call for expanded casino gambling. He will share his budget views with us.

And we meet Tom Allon, CEO of Manhattan Media, which publishes City & State Allon was picked by the Liberal Party to run as their candidate for NYC Mayor in 2013. The Liberal Party has been dormant for a while, not running any candidates for either state or citywide office since 2005.


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The Empire

Cuomo receives record high job approval, but voters think Aqueduct plan stinks: Siena

Monday, January 16, 2012

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

Just when you thought Governor Andrew Cuomo couldn't get any more popular, a new Siena Research Institute polls shows he's done just that.

"At 73-20 percent, Cuomo's favorability rating is the best it has been since April, and his 62-37 percent job performance rating is by far the best it‟s ever been,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement.

To go along with the love affair voters appear to have with Cuomo, he's also managed to get a majority of New Yorkers--albeit a slim one at 51 percent--to believe Albany is considerably less dysfunctional in his first year in office.

Among the Governor's legislative agenda items from his State of the State speech earlier this month, the creation of an education reform commission received the most support with 82 percent of those polled saying they support the plan.

Only 53 percent of voters said they support the Vegas-style gambling legalization the Governor is in favor of having in New York.

The Governor's proposal to build the country's largest convention center adjacent to the Aqueduct racino in Queens received the most opposition from voters, with 57 percent saying the oppose the plan.

“At this point there is strong opposition to the Governor‟s proposal for a new convention center adjacent to the Aqueduct racetrack and racino," Greenberg said. "New York City voters are barely supportive, suburbanites are opposed and upstaters are strongly opposed. Clearly, the Governor has his work cut out for him to convince voters on that proposal.”

The poll was taken between January 8 and 12, and surveyed 805 New York State Registered Voters. It has a plus or minus of 3.5 percent.

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The Empire

Cuomo writes state legislature on Aqueduct agreement

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the heads of the State Assembly and Senate today, declaring his desire to work with them "in a spirit of cooperation" on the details of the development of a convention center in Queens.

"Given the past history, while I may have the legal authority to proceed unilaterally, I choose to only proceed in full public view and with support of the legislature in a spirit of cooperation," the Governor wrote.

Cuomo hits on a number of contentious points critics of the plan have pounced on--transportation to the site, labor agreements, competition with the Belmont site, whether or not the city needs a new site, specifically in Queens--in an attempt, certainly, to help smooth the process his office has committed the state to, in a non-binding agreement.

"The state is not building anything. We are not spending public money on a convention center," the Governor wrote. "The bottom line is that this is a low risk, high reward business opportunity for the state."

The Governor also again stated his desire for the legislature to take up the legalization of gambling this session.

"I will also ask the legislature to consider passing language authorizing a Constitutional Amendment to allow casino gaming in the State of New York. That referendum would be at best two years from now – if ever – and should be considered as a separate issue from these current proposals," he said, and went on to state that he hoped the Aqueduct deal would be finished well ahead of the gambling legalization.

The full text is below, after the jump.

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Transportation Nation

Transit Advocates: Where's the Money for a Direct Train to New Convention Center?

Monday, January 09, 2012

Renderings of new Queens convention center (Courtesy of Arquitectonica)

Transit advocates are expressing doubt over the capacity to run an express subway train from midtown Manhattan to a proposed new convention center in Queens.  Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a non-binding agreement last week to build the world's largest convention center at Aqueduct Racetrack, but details about how conventioneers would get to and from Manhattan are sketchy.

Even though Governor Cuomo just proposed the plan, he's already signed a non-binding agreement with a potential developer, Genting Americas. That's raising questions about just how the plan to develop the site would work, including transportation options.

(Read Ilya Marritz's terrific profile of Genting here. )

In a brief statement issued Thursday, Genting said it and the "state would work alongside the MTA to help fund and introduce uninterrupted subway service between Midtown Manhattan" and the convention site.

But the MTA is already struggling to provide service, and has a multi-billion dollar hole in its capital construction plan.

Governor Cuomo also recently cut the payroll mobility tax, which pays for MTA operations, though he said he will replace those funds.

One idea bandied about was that the MTA would run express trains along the A line. But that idea was tried once before — in the now-defunct "Plane to the Train."  That service was plagued by low ridership, and created hostility by setting up a service that whisked past waiting straphangers on the local platforms.

"If one of their ideas is to create a convention express modeled after the JFK airport express, that's going to be much harder to do than it was in the 1970's and '80's," the Straphangers' Campaign's Gene Russianoff said.

Russianoff noted that many neighborhoods along the A and C lines — including Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant — have undergone rapid growth in recent years, and couldn't withstand reductions in service.

But Bob Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, which is backing the convention plan, thought adding express trains might be possible.

Yaro also said the air train to JFK could be extended to Aqueduct, or the LIRR Rockaway Beach line could be brought back to life. Both plans would cost considerably more.

A spokesman for the MTA, Jeremy Soffin,  issued a statement saying:

"Though we haven’t seen any proposals, we look forward to working with all involved to discuss ways to improve transit access to the site within fiscal and operating constraints.”

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Monday, January 09, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Carol French is a dairy farmer in Bradford County Pennsylvania. She leased her mineral rights to East Resources in 2006 for a 5 year term. East sold her lease to Chesapeake, which, though the term of the lease has expired, is still on the deed. While neither gas company ever fracked her land, she lives within a couple miles of 9 active wells. She claims her water has been ruined, and her property value has plummeted. But more urgently, she claims her daughter's endocrine system has been so battered by processing contaminated water that the chemicals caused her spleen to rupture; the daughter ultimately had to move away from the family farm. Today, two days before the end of the DEC’s fracking public comment period, we will hear excerpts from an interview with Carol who spoke with us on her farm on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the DOH hasn't responded to anti-fracking activist Doug Wood's FOIL requests for correspondence between that Agency and the DEC regarding the health impacts of hydrofracking. He joins us to tell his story.

Then Seneca National President Robert Odawi Porter has some thoughts on the Governor's commitment to expand gambling in New York.

And Brian Sampson, of the pro business group, Unshackle Upstate weighs in on hydrofracking and the Governor's SOS.

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On The Media

Government Reverses Itself on Online Gambling

Friday, January 06, 2012

After years of holding that the 1961 Federal Wire Act made online gambling that crossed state lines illegal, the Department of Justice reversed itself on December 24th, 2011, giving the states a huge gift. Bob speaks with gambling expert I. Nelson Rose, who says that cash-strapped states are now likely to loosen rules on online gambling, and that will mean big money and new jobs. 

Ramblin' Man - New Country Rehab 

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Gambling Opponents Gear Up to Fight Cuomo

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo's call to expand gambling in New York is facing more opposition form religious and anti-gambling groups. Their concerns range from personal issues, such as a possible increase in gambling addiction, bankruptcy and suicide, to crime and other community problems.

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Governor Anderw Cuomo's Gambling Push Opposed by Native American Tribes

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Native American gaming interests plan to mount a campaign opposing Governor Andrew Cuomo's call for a "more comprehensive approach" to gambling, saying it would undermine their revenues and violate existing agreements.


The Empire

The Empire's 2012 Legislative Session Preview

Friday, December 30, 2011

Will the Governor have another MVP year? (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

On Wednesday January 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver the 2012 State of the State in Albany, marking the beginning of a new legislative session. We spoke to numerous political consultants, lawmakers and good government groups to find out what New Yorkers can expect from state government this year.

The budget

Perhaps the real genius behind Cuomo’s on-time, balanced budget last year was that it also finalized most of this year’s budget as well. Through budget cuts and offsets, the Governor and the legislature were able to close a $10 billion gap last year. While far smaller,a gap has also opened up this year. The tax reform deal pulled together earlier this month helped close that gap significantly, but how the remaining $2 billion or so gets filled this time around is still an unknown.

“We know that they did the deal to do a temporary restructuring of the tax code which is going to bring in some new revenues, and now the question is, what are they going to do in the budget,” said Elizabeth Lynam with the Citizen’s Budget Commission, which has put out its own read on the upcoming budget.

She said she hoped the Governor and legislature resist the temptation to find new sources of revenue (i.e. raising taxes) and instead “move forward with the continued restructuring of the state’s obligations” (i.e. cut state spending on programs).

Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan—the ranking member on the Senate’s finance committee—is worried the Governor will do the opposite. “I'm very concerned there will be pressure to cut even further into critical programs,” she said. She argued that the tax reform didn’t go far enough, and favored revisiting corporate tax loopholes and other potential revenue generators.

Health care

One of the big outstanding issues in the coming budget process will be health care. The Governor has promised a four percent increase in spending on health care this year as part of the budget deal last year. But Senator John DeFrancisco, chair of the Senate’s finance committee, says this is the first place lawmakers should be looking to continue to trim the fat.

“I think the most important thing to do this year is to keep the momentum going that we started last year with the $10 billion in cuts in the budget and two percent property tax cap. In other words the fiscally conservative things we have done to try and…get rid of the structural deficit in the State of New York. And that means continual cuts,” DeFrancisco said.

The first place he said he and his Republican colleagues in the Senate majority see that happening is in Medicaid. “That’s the part of the budget that keeps rising exponentially and has to be dealt with in a way that will have year-after-year savings,” he said, pointing to a number of areas, such as limiting what Medicaid will cover and enforcing prescription copays.


The other major area of the budget that will likely come into play is the other promised four percent spending increase made by Cuomo last year—to education. The issue is not whether the spending will go up, but about who will get it and if it will be enough.

“I really think this whole aid to education is going to be a sticking point, and how it's being divvied up,” said Assembly Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb. He was critical of what he called the Governor’s “cookie cutter approach” and that upstate and poorer districts weren’t getting what they need.

“This is not about teachers, this is not about defending the status quo,” Kolb said. “It’s going to come down to how well we spend the money we do have."

Bob Ward of the Rockefeller Institute at the University of Albany thinks there could be a push to increase the amount the state spends.

“I think the key question will be, can more dollars be found to add to the existing four percentage increase? Certainly the legislature will want to do that.” Ward said. “The teachers unions will be pushing very hard for increases."

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The Empire

Support for independent redistricting grows, while New Yorkers remain split on fracking: Quinnipiac

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

As a new Quinnipiac poll says, support for an independent commission to try new political boundaries is on the rise. More than half--52 percent--of those polled said said it was time for the Legislature to hand over the line drawing to someone else.

“Drawing new legislative and congressional district lines will be high on Albany’s 2012 agenda. Quinnipiac University has been tracking this sleeper issue for some time and we see support for an independent commission to draw the lines is edging up,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in the report. Carroll noted that 56 percent of those polled believed that an independent commission should be devoid of legislators.

You can see what some non-partisan groups are proposing for maps here.

Lastly, the poll shows that more than two-thirds of those polled support Las Vegas-style casinos in New York.

New York voters are less sure when it comes to hydrofracking. The drilling process is supported by 44 percent of those polled, while 45 percent are opposed to it. New York City and upstate voters are less in favor of bringing hydrofracking to New York--49 and 48 percent respectively--while 53 percent of suburban voters support drilling.

“Another big 2012 issue – hydro-fracking – has New Yorkers split right down the middle.  Overwhelmingly, voters think it would produce jobs. A smaller majority worries that it would damage the environment,” Carroll said.

The poll surveyed 1,143 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

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The Empire

Cuomo knocks Albany corruption, defends tax reform in radio interview

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Post’s Fed Dicker, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his impression of his past year in Albany while looking forward to the next session, which begins in January.

“If you look at what we laid out in the campaign--if you look at what we said we were going to do versus what we did – I think it’s fair to say we had a very productive year," the Governor said.

He went on to laud the state legislature for its efforts (or willingness to accept his, depending on how you look at it) as well before turning to a number of high-profile topics. Here are the highlights:

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NJ Congressman Plans to Introduce Bill for Sports Betting Now

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Hoping to avoid a long, costly legal battle over whether New Jerseyans should be able to bet on sports, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. said he will introduce a bill Monday giving the state an immediate exemption from a federal ban on sports betting.