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How the pitch for New York City casinos could save the upstate ones

Perhaps only in New York could more casinos be viewed as a lifeline for the struggling ones in upstate.

Powerful downstate casino giants have privately made the pitch to the four upstate casinos and state leaders that lifting a moratorium on New York City-area gambling licenses could be the bailout the upstate ones need to survive.

If the state were to drop its ban on new casinos before 2023, the New York City-area casino developers are each offering $500 million to the state for casino licenses, as well as offering to pay the fees that would be owed to the upstate casinos if the ban is lifted.

Not only that, the new revenue from the downstate casinos could allow the state and upstate casinos to renegotiate their tax rates because the industry as a whole would be bringing in more revenue for the state, the casino hopefuls have argued.

"One of the first conversations we had was with several of the upstate operators who under this scenario where they could potentially get some tax relief and see part of their license fees come back," said Ron Reese, a spokesman for Las Vegas Sands Corp., which is seeking a casino license in the city.

"We’ve really worked in tandem with them on this process."

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