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Education Money Going to Casinos?

The casino is part of the Aqueduct Racetrack complex. (Transpoman/Wikimedia Commons)
The casino is part of the Aqueduct Racetrack complex. (Transpoman/Wikimedia Commons)
April 7, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. – Education advocates say a provision buried in the new state budget allows a casino developer to take money from a fund set aside for public schools.

Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, says the provision allows Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct to withdraw up to $40 million a year from the revenue the state collects from the casino.

"And they're using that to expand their operations including building a hotel, and it's a bad bet,” Easton states. “We should be funding our schools with the money that's supposed to go to our schools, not funding casino operators."

A representative for the casino's developer called Resorts World “New York's largest taxpayer” and said the budget provision will allow additional economic development in the local community.

But Easton maintains that voters were told if they approved the casino the money would flow to education, and this provision reverses that.

"This is not the type of thing we should allow,” he maintains. “The schools are underfunded as it is. There's a real need for smaller class sizes, more guidance counselors and social workers and more programs for students."

State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, chair of the Racing and Wagering Committee, has called the budget provision "a terrible idea."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY