The comptroller in New York says the state’s four upstate commercial casinos have not been properly billed for the costs associated of regulating the gaming venues.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D) says the 2013 law that authorized the four upstate commercial casinos requires the owners of the resorts – not the state – be on the hook for the regulatory costs of monitoring their operations.
The costs to regulate casinos in New York State are supposed to be shouldered by the casinos themselves. But the state Gaming Commission has let some of them slide on this responsibility,” DiNapoli explained in an audit that was obtained by The Buffalo News.
“That has unfairly shifted expenses to taxpayers. The commission should bill all casinos for oversight costs in a timely manner and come up with a plan to handle disputes with casinos over these charges as soon as possible,” DiNapoli added.
Regulating commercial casinos is no easy task, which is why it also isn’t cheap. DiNapoli says the Gaming Commission failed to collect $13 million from the four properties – Del Lago, Resorts World Catskills, Rivers Casino, and Tioga Downs.
The comptroller says the number could actually be higher if the money were to have been placed in an interest-bearing account. Unlike the commercial casinos, the Gaming Commission did properly bill and receive regulatory payments from the state’s Indian casinos and slot machine manufacturers and distributors.
Per the audit, the Gaming Commission said in a response that it did not fail to bill the casinos properly, and will collect the $13 million. The agency added that the comptroller’s comments are “patently false” and “all such expenses” will be received in a timely manner.
Regardless, the news comes as the four casinos in question continue to seek state tax breaks to offset their underperforming gross gaming revenues. The properties are failing to meet their premarket expectations, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) says no such help is coming.
“You have a casino saying, ‘I’m not meeting my expectations. I should get help from the state.’ I’m not sympathetic to that,” Cuomo affirmed.
DiNapoli is keeping close tabs on New York’s gaming industry. He’s concerned that the expanded gaming could take a toll on the state’s residents.
The comptroller said last year the state hasn’t conducted a comprehensive study investigating the societal impact the new casinos, sportsbooks, and daily fantasy sports are having on the state. DiNapoli revealed it’s been more than a decade since such a review was performed.
Gambling addiction destroys lives and families. When New York expanded casino gaming, it took on the responsibility of making sure there were adequate services to meet the rise in addiction that comes with it,” DiNapoli said last year.
“The agency is taking steps to expand problem gambling services. But it has not done enough to assess the impact of casinos on addiction or ensured enough treatment programs exist,” DiNapoli said.