Here is the issue that will cause more controversy while being read far less than any of the other issues I present. Yes, I recognize that it is avante guard but this is my main skill, being able to see where things are heading and what can be done to take advantage of the inevitable before the inevitable arrives. As I see it, the original puritanical forces that outlawed gambling throughout the nation (similar to the outlawing of liquor) are breaking down. There are only two states left in which there is no gambling (Utah and Hawaii, I believe), and the start up of additional casinos and other houses of gambling devices (mainly "racinos" or racetrack casinos) is moving forward at lightning speed as many states are trying to adjust to the efforts by other states to cash in on the gambling gold mine, as it is seen by state legislators who feel unable to levy any further taxes on human beings, and have lost most of their tax revenue from major corporations. Pennsylvania, for example, a state with no slot machines at the moment, is planning to install 61,000 slot machines in about 17 sites across Pennsyvania. New York with only a handful of Indian casinos, is permitting non-Indian Aqueduct Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway to install 4,400 and 5,500 video lottery terminals (the regulatory equivalent of slot machines, and players cannot tell the difference, I should add) within the next year (as to Aqueduct) and within the next 6 months or so (as to Yonkers), as well as in other racetracks in New York not serviced by Indian casinos. Plus, I might add, additional Indian casinos in the Buffalo area, Catskills, and other areas of New York. See my website for a more detailed description: www.legalizeNYgambling.com.
I see quite clearly that the licensed casinos are going to be stumbling all over themselves trying to compete for business, with the New York Lottery also advertising quite heavily for the citizens' available (and not-so-available) dollar. The result is already heading for more gambling venues than the existing casino owners want. In a perfect world, any one casino owner would be the only casino owner, and there are at least two ways to accomplish this: (i) stop all new licenses (which creates a status quo); and (ii) merge existing casinos into one huge gambling corporation and offer to run as many Indian casinos as possible. A report was issued today that only 20% of the Indian casinos are profitable, and that the other 80% are in varying degrees of financial difficulty.
Another fact: Buffalo officials made it clear that the Buffalo area is beyond salvation from the sin of gambling, and that casinos should be brought in and that the public is already patronizing casinos in Canada and elsewhere so that there is no reason not to put slots into Buffalo. The public is ready for them through non-Buffalo activities.
By now you may get my point. Gambling is here to stay, and it doesn't matter whether you like it or not. You are already gambling in illegal operations without realizing it. For example, when newspapers run lotto games (just pay your quarter for the paper and you may be the lucky winner - just buy another paper to find out). Or, buy a Pepsi and you have one chance out of 12 or 13 to win a FREE bottle (just look under the bottle cap to see if you are a winner!). Or what about unsophisticated day traders trying to eke out $25 or $100 by doing day trades having no interest in the fundamentals of the stock, because with day trades (a buy and sell accomplished within one trading day), it makes no difference.
Since gambling is definitely here to stay, what can we do in New York to harness the power of gambling for the good of New Yorkers. I have figured out how to do this, and the heart of my idea is to harness the power or lure of (or addiction to) gambling to get New Yorkers to do beneficial and desirable non-gambling activities. This is the basis for my concept of the "Neighborhood Casino".
A neighborhood casino should offer low-priced poker games and bingo games, and 100% payout slot machines, for example. This would draw people to the casino at which point they would interact with their friends and neighbors for the purpose of engaging in non-gambling activities. In regular casinos, a patron travels a long distance but meets nobody he/she will ever seen again, which prevents and subsequent socializing or business dealings. A neighborhood casino will draw neighbors together and encourage them to do non-gambling things together, such as jointly research and write a website, open up a car repair service, take exercise classes together, attend a specialized course - take a trip together.
I brought a lawsuit in New York State in September 2005 to have the New York courts declare that all gambling is legal in New York. At this time, a motion to dismiss has been made, returnable in February, 2006. I have responded to the motion, including a motion for summary declaratory judgment to declare that it is legal under New York law for anyone to own or use a video lottery terminal for non-gambling purposes, especially in my envisioned Neighborhood Casino. My website for the lawsuit is at My Website in Support of My Lawsuit to Legalize Gambling in NY; and a copy of my complaint is available at My Complaint for Declaratory Judgment. I plan to post on my website a pdf copy of the defendants' two motions and a copy of my response to their motions when I find time.
My neighborhood casino concept is a reincarnation of my idea, expressed in my ebook Dropping Out, that the library in a small town or village should become a country club for the local population by the providing of various services outlined in the book. Now, I would have the neighborhood casino provide such services, including a small library. On the other hand, I am not advocating that the town's library be turned into a neighborhood casino.
A person running for office should consider the jobs, opportunities and economic development available to a community which embraces competitive gambling and uses the powerful force of gambling to bring residents and neighbors together to engage in multiple non-gambling activities. The neighborhood casino, in other words, would be similar to a bar, coffee shop, disco, drug den or concert hall, but be a place where older residents would be more apt to go than the other places, and enable them to mix with the rest of the community and join in non-gambling activities with community members of varied ages. It is possible that a town or village, as a non-profit entity, might have a greater chance of setting up and operating a neighborhood casino than a for-profit corporation. If I am elected NYS Attorney General, I would work with a town or village to see what options are available to them under the law as it now exists in New York, including any clarification I am able to obtain through my lawsuit to legalize gambling.
I really haven't delved into the benefits of using gambling. They are formidable. Nevada for the past 19 years has been the fastest growing state in the country. It's time for New York to harness some of the power of gambling for New Yorkers.