|Expanded casino gambling and new video lottery terminals at racetracks are legal in New York state, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi ruled Thursday. |
Teresi, in a written ruling here, upheld a 2001 law that allows the gaming, saying it does not violate the state constitution.
Opponents of the legislation immediately said they would appeal the ruling.
'Litigation like this is a marathon, not a sprint,' said Cornelius Murray, the Albany lawyer representing those who had challenged the law. 'While we are obviously disappointed with the ruling, we are very confident that our clients will ultimately prevail on the merits.'
The 2001 law was approved just a month after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, with state leaders desperate to generate new sources of revenues. In addition to VLTs at racetracks, the legislation would allow construction of as many as six Indian-run casinos in western New York and the Catskill Mountains.
Only one of the six approved casinos, operated by the Seneca Indian Nation in Niagara Falls, has opened. None of the electronic slot-like machines have arrived at the tracks. The state hopes that each casino will generate $40 million to $50 million in annual revenue.
Casino mogul Donald Trump, who recently bought full-page newspaper ads to slam plans to put VLTs at New York Racing Association-run thoroughbred tracks, also said Teresi's ruling will be overturned 'fairly easily.' Trump has opposed VLTs at tracks, as well as the establishment of Indian-run casinos in the southern part of the state out of fear of losing business at his three Atlantic City casinos.
Trump said he would consider it ' a very big risk,' to consider Teresi's decision a green light for installation of the VLT or casino construction, but both the state and the tracks say they are doing just that.