American casino and resort company, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), led by 85-year-old billionaire businessman, Sheldon Adelson, who has made considerable political contributions to President Trump, has named Democratic former New York Governor David Paterson to a senior VP position of what is the largest casino company in the world.
After succeeding Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as Governor of ‘The Empire State’ on March 17, 2008, following the public disclosure of his involvement with prostitutes, Patterson served out the final three years of Spitzer’s term to the end of 2010.
According to the New York Post, on Monday, the legally blind 65-year-old (pictured, right) told the New York City daily newspaper…
“I think I’m doing what more Americans need to do right now. Mr. Adelson has a First Amendment right to vote for whoever he wants to vote for president and to spend his money giving contributions to whoever he feels would be the best candidate.
“The acrimony that builds every day more and more between the two parties, I think this is a real example of what used to happen in this country where people didn’t even think about their political affiliations when business opportunity came through because business is about respect and as long as I feel respected, then I can work there,” said Patterson.
There are currently four commercial casinos operating in upstate New York including Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady, Tioga Downs Casino Resort, Del Lago Resort and Casino and Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort, while a trio of others are authorized for entry in the New York City market.
However, restrictions in the state Constitution approved in July 2013 (The Upstate New York Gaming Act of 2013 (the “Gaming Act”) put a seven-year moratorium on casino expansion in New York prohibiting full-scale gaming within the New York City metropolitan area until 2023. The law, effective from March 1, 2016, was reportedly intended to afford upstate casinos a chance to gain footing in the market before the NYC area could join and add competition.
After the seven-year exclusivity period, the process can be reopened by the New York State Legislature to permit the expansion of commercial gambling for as many as three additional casinos in keeping with the constitutional amendment.
Payment towards licensing fees:
In March, Paterson’s successor, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, shot down a plan being put forward by some major casino operators, including Sands, MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and Genting Group, that could speed their entry in the New York City market. The proposal advanced publicly by Sands and Genting would reportedly involve paying a significant fee to the operators of the upstate casinos, which, according to a contract, allows them to be compensated if the seven-year exclusivity period ends early.
MGM is eyeing a full-scale gambling license for its Empire City Casino in Yonkers, which it bought for $850 million in January this year, while Genting is looking to do the same with its massive Resorts World Casino New York City in Queens, and Sands is keen on building a new casino in the city.
Plus revenue and jobs:
According to the news agency, Sands maintains that a downstate casino program would generate $1.5 billion in revenue for public education and the public transportation system courtesy of license fees paid by operators of casinos. They also reportedly commit to 15,000 union jobs that will be permanent and an additional 15,000 union construction jobs, absent government subsidies.
Paterson, who began consulting for the Nevada-based company earlier this year, maintained that the casinos would provide support for the upstate casino industry by the lowering of licensing and tax burdens.
“The whole idea of bringing thousands of jobs into the state of New York, enticing people to stay rather than leave, enticing other people to move here and doing it through the entertainment industry that is gaming is an exciting new challenge for me.”
Governor Cuomo said in March that he was “dubious” of the proposal to issue the state’s final trio of casino licenses prior to the expiry of the moratorium on new licenses in 2023.
“I am very skeptical about some casino deal put together by casino operators promising billions of dollars and everybody’s happy,” said Cuomo.
Obstacle to plan:
The plan offered by Sands and Genting would, however, address the issue of the state not having the resources to pay the penalties, which state Budget Director Robert Mujica noted at the time, was an obstacle at what would be a collective $300 million in licensing fees to be paid back to the upstate casinos.