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Legal challenge could threaten more than just seven casinos

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- Here's a new worry for the gambling industry. The legal challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's casino expansion plan that is being heard Friday by a state judge threatens to derail not just the seven casinos sought by the governor, but also the back-up plan for four new video lottery terminal facilities.

A case brought by a Brooklyn commercial bankruptcy attorney over the process by which the state drafted the ballot language will be heard Friday morning by acting Supreme Court Judge Richard Platkin, who served former Gov. George Pataki throughout his administration, including nearly four years as his counsel. (Pataki last week made public amends with Cuomo when he agreed to join a panel to devise tax cut ideas).

If the courts knock the casino measure off the ballot, as is being sought by lawyer Eric Snyder, Cuomo's Plan B is also in jeopardy. That Plan B calls for four video lottery terminal facilities -- one apiece in Nassau County, the Albany area, the Mid-Hudson/Catskills region and the eastern part of the Southern Tier -- to still be developed even if the broader casino referendum is defeated.

The VLT parlors will be allowed "in the event that an amendment to the constitution to authorize casino gambling is defeated,'' the law states.

Key word: "defeated.'' If the courts kill the ballot initiative, the proposal will not have a chance to be defeated or approved by voters. And the VLT back-up plan, then, would die as well.

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Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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