A Casino In Manhattan? No Dice, Say Local Officials

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MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — Reports that state officials are considering opening a casino in Manhattan drew skepticism from local leaders who called it a bad idea.

"I think there's a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to casinos," said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday, responding to a reporter's question about a possible casino in Times Square, or elsewhere in the city.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer was blunter, saying in a tweet that "Manhattan electeds are against this."

"Tourists should go to the theater and the museums," she said. "Don't take money that would go to culture and give it to a casino. Don't play games with this borough."

The state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office are locked in late-stage negotiations for the state's new budget, which has blown past its April 1 deadline.

As talks drag on, a proposal to open a casino in Manhattan emerged as a new bargaining chip, designed to generate revenue, the New York Post reported Monday.

Current state laws permit up to three casinos to open starting in 2023 in the "downstate" region, which includes the city, Long Island and parts of the Hudson Valley.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo told the Post that licensing a Manhattan casino could raise up to $500 million, but conceded that city lawmakers were staunchly opposed to the idea.

The proposed legislation would create a 20-member board in New York City to review casino applications, the Post reported.

The casino rumors came days after lawmakers drew closer to a deal to legalize online sports betting in New York.


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