Senate and Assembly Pass Bonacic’s Casino Gaming Amendment to State Constitution

John J. Bonacic

March 15, 2012

The Senate and Assembly late last night passed a Constitutional amendment sponsored by State Senator John Bonacic, which would amend the Constitution to permit up to seven casinos in New York State.  The proposal is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow of Westchester County.   

“This is about construction jobs, jobs at resort-casinos, and expanding our tourism economy.    The long-ago made promise of casino gaming is closer to reality thanks to a bi-partisan approach in the Senate and Assembly and a powerful leader in Governor Cuomo,” Senator Bonacic said. 

Senator Bonacic is Chairman of both the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of Constitutional Amendments, and the Senate Racing Committee, which will develop the enacting legislation.  He sponsored the Constitutional amendment at the request of  Governor Cuomo. 

In order to amend the Constitution, the Legislature next year will again take up the amendment, and the voters will have to approve it in the November, 2013 general election.   

“Working with the Governor, we have taken the first, and I  believe most realistic step in bringing casino gaming to the Catskills.  To those who long have supported casino gaming, particularly in the Catskills, I pledge as Chairman of the relevant Committees to work to introduce and enact implementing legislation which meets the needs of the people of our State so we attract high caliber casino gaming.  To those who oppose gaming, you will have a vote too – amending the Constitution is the purest form of Democracy since the proposal will have to be approved by the voters of our State,” Senator Bonacic said. 

Governor Cuomo initially proposed allowing “the State”, which many took to mean agencies he controls to approve the location and details of all casinos.  However, the final approved Constitutional Amendment provides that the Legislature will authorize, by legislation, where  the casinos will be and any requirements associated with casino development.