Whether Indian gaming in the Catskills and video lottery terminals (VLT) at racetracks will be allowed in New York State is now being considered by seven judges at the Court of Appeals. Pro-gambling groups have so far successfully argued that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 1988 permits tribal gaming in states where some form of gambling, such as fund raising for charity, is allowed.
The Appellate Division of the stateís Supreme Court found that the 2001 authorization for six tribal casinos, VLTs at 8 racetracks and the Mega Millions lottery was not a violation of the state constitution. Anti-gambling groups are in pursuit of this decision being overturned, contending that state lawmakers are bound by the constitution of New York and not by powers granted them by federal law.
Governor George Patakiís plan for five tribal casinos in the Catskills appears to have little local support. A recent poll found that only 8% of people asked approved the plan, although nearly half thought it would be preferable to spread the new casinos throughout the state. 58% of those polled said that they rarely gamble in any form, and were unlikely to gamble if casinos opened at the Catskills.
The Court of Appeals is expected to make its ruling known in May. (E-03.22.05)
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