Casino News

Gov. Cuomo Deprives Municipalities of VLT Aid Cash in Favor of 2020 Budget

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to see some changes introduced to the way gaming revenue is being distributed across the state. In the proposed Executive budget for 2020, he made it clear that the revenue generated by video lottery terminals part of an existing support program might have to come to see some changes affecting municipalities other than the City of Yonkers. Some of the areas that would be directly affected voiced their concerns.

Gaming revenue allocations are one of the ways in which gaming venues are able to support their host communities and the region they operate within. Their support comes as a compensation for the gambling operation in progress and is later on used for various local projects, infrastructural improvements, as well as problem gambling programs.

VLT Money Only in Yonkers

Such has been the case within New York State, with financial support being generated on a regular basis. Things might change soon, as Gov. Cuomo wants to introduce some changes to the Video Lottery Terminal Aid program. According to the information issued with the Executive budget for 2020 that was issued at the beginning of January, some of the municipalities currently benefiting from it might cease to do so.

The host communities including venues featuring video lottery terminals are being supported by the regular allocations. Some of those towns are Hamburg and Batavia, both regions that are concerned by the lack of payments projected to hit them hard down the road. The move was proposed as the state budget has a US$6.1 billion gap at the moment and it should be aided in a way.

This could happen with less money going to the host communities of racino casinos and venues featuring the aforementioned video lottery terminals. It should be taken into account that the said municipalities have been able to bag a substantial amount over the past fiscal year. Hamburg received US$865,679 for the gaming operation over 2019-2020.

Municipalities Outraged

Hamburg Gaming at the Fairgrounds was the generator of this revenue allocation, coming as a result of the increased gaming engagement happening on its premises. The increased flow of patrons has also been beneficial for the racetrack and its wagering opportunities. Erie County was able to receive some US$288,560 for its involvement in the Video Lottery Terminals Aid program over the same period.

James Shaw, Town of Hamburg Supervisor, recently expressed his concerns regarding the potential change of plans. The non-existent allocations might spell disaster for the community, prompting it to raise property taxes, a move that could prove to be controversial. It would also result in layoffs affecting more individuals. This could potentially compensate for the missing allocations in the long run.

Projections are that the move would add some US$800,000 to the state budget, which is insubstantial money support. Mobile sports wagering supporters have pointed out that one of the positive steps Gov. Cuomo should have taken was the legalization of the online gaming offering. With the recent Super Bowl, it became clear that players are willing to make their way to neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey in order to place bets online.