Bloomberg Not A Fan Of Gambling, But Said If State Approves, He Wants In

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is now willing to roll the dice on a New York City casino, just as long as it is not in Manhattan.

It is music to the ears of gamblers, and now city residents may be well on their way to hearing their own jingle with their own “gambling destination.” Assembly Speaker Silver said he’s looking at locations like Coney Island in Brooklyn and Willets Point in Queens, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

The idea has the backing of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

“Coney Island certainly has been an area that has been a traditional recreational area of the city,” Silver said. “Right now, part of Willets Point is junk yards, a significant number of junkyards.”

The powerful Manhattan Democrat also spoke of Aqueduct, which already has a profitable racino that has generated half a billion dollars in net revenue since it opened last October. However, Silver said he does not want a gambling hall in his borough.

“We should not have casinos in densely populated parts of the city like Manhattan, where people will go out to lunch and are capable of losing a month’s pay or a week’s pay or a year’s pay. I don’t want that to happen,” Silver said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature took the first step earlier this year of getting a constitutional amendment to bring legalized casino gambling to New York. The Legislature is well on its way to approving the legalization of up to seven casinos throughout the state. The bill has already passed the Legislature once. It must pass again during the next session and then be approved in a public ballot referendum expected in November 2013.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he thinks gambling is a regressive tax scheme, but added if the state is going to pass it,  he wants the city to get a piece of the pie.

“I don’t particularly care for it,” Bloomberg said. “I think history shows that wherever casinos are built the local communities, in spite of all the talk, very seldom benefit.

“Having said that, if we’re going to have it I think New York City should have it and we should be able to get revenue for our needs here, pay our teachers, pay our police officers, pay our firefighters and its probably less regressive in New York City than any place else because you’re going to have a lot more tourists,” the mayor said.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

The Daily News reported Bloomberg was leaning toward Willets Point over Coney Island as a gambling site, but the mayor shot down the report.

“As God as my witness, I’ve never heard anybody ever suggest either one, and nobody’s certainly asked me,” Bloomberg said.

But to be clear, the selection of a location won’t heat up for a while and some want a casino included in the redevelopment of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the West Side.

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