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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Betting Is Big Business in New York State

By | Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS – New York State’s nine racetrack casinos have generated more tax in 2012 than all casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined.

 

The New York Gaming Association, which represents all nine of New York’s racetrack casinos, including Saratoga Casino and Raceway, reported that tax revenue generated by the casinos from January – June of 2012 totaled $619,511,789, as compared to $329,064,907 generated by casinos along the Las Vegas Strip and in Atlantic City. New York casinos are taxed at a 68 percent rate; Las Vegas is at 6.75 percent and Atlantic City at 8 percent.

The tax rate on New York casinos is one of the highest in the country, with much of the revenue used to help fund education, agribusiness, local government and more.

“From the very beginning, the system was designed to generate as much possible revenue for education in the state, as well as to ensure that racing in New York maintains a healthy and robust environment,” said Rita Cox, senior vice president of marketing and external affairs at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “I think the numbers show that’s exactly what’s happening. Saratoga Casino and Raceway alone has raised over half a billion dollars for education since we began operations in 2004.”

Since 2004, New York’s nine casinos have contributed $3.2 billion in aid to education, $3.8 billion in aid to New York State, over $666.2 million to agribusiness and over $170 million to local governments.

“In terms of the local community, we’ve generated and given over $1 million to local charities through our various foundations, including our Make a Difference Program and through ongoing donations,” said Cox. “Nearly $100 million has gone into helping breeders and horsemen,” she added.

Through July 21 in this calendar year alone, Saratoga Casino and Raceway has generated over $42.9 million for education and $8.3 million for breeders and horsemen.

At the peak of the season, the local casino also employs upward of 700 staff members. Currently, the 900-stall stables at the raceway are also full.

“That’s a significant local impact,” said Cox, “especially since most of our employees live relatively close to the facility.”

Since opening in 2004, the Saratoga Casino has also raised over $107.1 million in aid for agribusiness and $13.53 million in aid to the local government.

Lawmakers in New York State are currently debating whether to legalize stand-alone, Las Vegas-style casinos in the state, as opposed to the already legal casino and raceway models. A constitutional amendment allowing up to seven such casinos in the state was approved earlier this year, and must once again be approved by the legislature next year and by voters during a referendum in November 2013. New York’s nine racetrack casinos have lobbied for the exclusive rights to build such Las Vegas-style casinos if approved. Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo has publicly expressed an interest in letting other organizations build said facilities.

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