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Genting Could Build New York's First Casino

Casino giant Genting is reportedly trying to negotiate exclusive rights in New York state to expand its current racino at Aqueduct into a full-fledged casino if state law is changed to allow it. 

Genting is better known for its international operations but is looking to ramp up its efforts on the US casino front, including submitting plans to build the world's largest casino in the Miami area if an expansion of casinos is approved in Florida.

Genting has proposed building a $4 billion convention center next to Aqueduct Racetrack that would be the nation's largest and potentially create tens of thousands of jobs. The only catch is that Genting is rumored to be lobbying for exclusive rights to casino operations in the entire state of New York in exchange for completing the convention project.

Like several other US states, New York is taking a hard look at expanding gambling options for residents by offering full-scale casinos. While several Indian tribes do offer casinos in New York state the only official "casinos" are racinos at horse tracks such as Aqueduct, which offer video lottery terminals but no traditional casino table games like blackjack or craps.

Gov. Cuomo is pushing for a constitutional amendment to legalize gambling throughout the state, which could allow Genting to expand its current racino at Aqueduct into a typical casino.

Genting plans to build the convention center in two stages, with the first 2.6 million square-foot phase completed by November 2014 at the earliest, followed by the construction of a 1,000-room hotel scheduled for November 2015.

Despite the potential tax revenues generated by casinos -- which would add hundreds of millions of dollars each year to state coffers -- many are opposed to the building of casinos, especially in densely populated areas of New York City. A lingering recession has added fuel to the push to add casinos, however, especially when gambling dollars regularly leave the state for neighboring areas that have existing casinos such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

06-Jan-2012, 07:41

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