New York Casino Board Gets First 3 Members

A college president and two former government officers have joined New York’s casino siting board. The three constitute a quorum, and can begin work right away. Two others will be named.

Hofstra president is third college chief on Cuomo gaming team

On February 6, the New York Gaming Commission announced that it had appointed three members of the state’s five-member casino siting board. The panel has been charged with evaluating bidders and awarding licenses for four casino developments in three upstate regions.

The three form the quorum needed to begin the work, reported the Albany Times-Union. They are Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz, former State Budget Director Paul Francis, and former New York City Comptroller William Thompson.

“These individuals have the expertise, objectivity and knowledge of New York state to evaluate the applications to operate destination resort casinos,” said Gaming Commission Chairman Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Rabinowitz is the third private college president assigned to a statewide gambling operation. The others are Gearan, nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January, and Cornell University President David Skorton, appointed by Cuomo as chairman of the New York Racing Association.

The board members will be working under a pretty tight deadline. Cuomo wants the licensees named by fall.

Four casino locations will be selected in three areas: the Capital Region, the Hudson Valley/Catskills and the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes. Three more casinos will be licensed in other regions of the state seven years after the first upstate casino opens.

The casino-selection members may not live in the eligible regions. They can have no ties to the gaming or racing industries. They must have at least 10 years of financial experience. They are not salaried, but will be reimbursed for their expenses.