The folks in Atlantic City – Donald Trump included – are ecstatic over a judicial ruling that effectively slams the door shut on Indian-sponsored casinos in the Catskills. But while Trump & Co. are happy for their own economic interests, this is a long-term victory for New Yorkers, as well.
Albany Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi ruled that two New York governors, George Pataki and Mario Cuomo, “crossed the line of executive power” and overstepped their legal authority when they approved a plan to let the St. Regis Mohawk tribe build a $500 million gambling casino in Monticello, the heart of economically depressed Sullivan County.
According to the ruling, such casinos must be approved by the state Legislature – where upstate Republicans, including Majority Leader Joe Bruno, are wisely opposed to the spread of state-sponsored gambling.
Besides slot machine online gratis senza scaricare | giochi di slots and the Monticello facility, Teresi’s ruling endangers two other proposed casinos, in Greene County and Niagara Falls. And it precludes any expansion to existing tribal casinos.
We’ve always opposed such dubious schemes, however well-intentioned – and it’s clear that certain upstate areas, especially the Catskills, need an economic shot in the arm.
But this is not the way to do it.
Under the gubernatorial scheme, 30 acres of land would be ceded to the St. Regis Mohawks and designated “tribal” territory for the purpose of erecting a casino – in other words, to evade New York state’s unambiguous constitutional ban on gambling casinos.
But the economic benefits of existing casinos further upstate are open to question.
Moreover, the state suffers thanks to the massive sales-tax evasion that takes place at Indian-owned places, like convenience stores and gas stations.
As for the St. Regis Mohawks, the tribe has for decades been carrying on a brisk smuggling trade through its St. Lawrence River reservation, which extends on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.
Such contraband as guns, alcohol and tobacco traverses the reservation – and it does a brisk business in the transport of illegal aliens as well.
Nice neighbors, huh?
Beyond that, there are no economic arguments here strong enough to subvert the state constitution.
In its landmark 1999 study, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission – which surveyed 100 communities – called for a nationwide moratorium on the growth of the gaming industry.