Cuomo lands at Bethel Woods; gaming hailed as breathing new life into Catskills
He said the conversation about reviving tourism in the Catskills has been going on for decades. “We just need something to be an engine to turn that switch again, and it is casinos. It was talked about it for decades and nothing happened.” He said other states moved ahead of New York, “and we saw our future passing us by. And why didn’t we do anything? It’s hard, it’s complicated, it’s risky, it’s scary.
“Casinos are prohibited by the state constitution, technically,” the Governor said, “So what did we do? We came up with something called racinos. What is a racino? It’s a casino with an ‘r’.
We have Native American casinos, we signed compacts with the Indians and the compacts were complicated, and they fell apart, and the Indians never paid. There’s about a billion dollars in revenue that the Indians never paid because they said the state was in violation of the compact.
“And meanwhile taxes kept going up, young people were moving out, the economy is slow, the other states were moving forward. New York was stuck in the mire.
“Yes, it’s risky to try, but getting out of bed in the morning is a risk, getting in a car is a risk, everything is a risk, the alternative is to do nothing. If you do nothing, for sure you will lose.”