New York City mayoral candidate and former Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang supports building a brick-and-mortar casino in the city, according to a report from Politico.
Yang, who was already popular among poker players after tweeting his support for federally legal online poker in 2019, said that a casino on Governors Island would be a great way to generate tax revenue for a city that has struggled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That casino would generate so much money it would be bananas,” said Yang in a radio appearance. “If the city could get that in place and harness some of that – that would be one of the engines of recovery.”
Governors Island is a 172-acre island located about 800 yards south of Manhattan and 400 yards west of Brooklyn. It is a former military and Coast Guard facility that is currently home to a few restaurants, businesses and a National monument. It is only accessible by ferry.
A major hurdle standing in the way of Yang’s plan is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s moratorium on any full-scale casinos in the New York City area until 2023. Cuomo put it in place in hopes of stimulating the state’s upstate casinos, but by the time Yang potentially takes office in 2022, there would be less than a year before it is lifted.
It wouldn’t be unprecedented for Cuomo to switch positions and lift the moratorium if he felt it necessary for the state and city coffers. Cuomo recently changed his view on online sports betting. What was once off limits is now being pushed for by the governor for the same reason Yang wants a casino. Increased tax revenue.
When Cuomo proposed his state budge at the start of the year, he allocated $500 million in tax revenue from online sports betting. State lawmakers have argued for years that Cuomo should allow online betting, but he wanted to keep sports betting exclusivity to the upstate casinos.