What We Didn’t See Is What We Got
I recently posted on how the NYS Lottery has made itself a role in balancing the State budget. The role is supporter of “education.” The Governor thinks a like role will make acceptable to the voters the new casinos he wants as one of his legacies to the State. Voters know more about the downside of casinos in 2013 than we did about the future of State Lottery in 1966. That makes for a harder sell. The magic words “for education” could still charm it through. This 700-word essay has two parts: (1) a history of amendments in Article I § 9 starting with the one in 1966 that launched NYS Lottery (2) figures on NYSL as of FY 2012.
Between 1967 and 1993 there were 485 bills introduced to the legislature to amend Article I, an average of 18/year. This made Article I one of the most targeted articles. Almost half the proposed changes were to do with gambling, which is in §9 but is not the entirety of that section. Only two proposals in those 18 years to amend Article I passed both chambers in two legislatures. Both concerned “charitable” gambling; both were approved by referendum. In that same era, a total of 61 (1.4%) proposed amendments on all topics passed both chambers in two successively-elected legislatures . Forty-one (67%) of these 61 passed in a referendum.
Benjamin and Cusa* mention a total of six amendments to Section 9 between 1939 and 2001. I reviewed those between 1966 and 2001 in McKinney’s.
1939 pari-mutuel (OTB legalized 1970)
1957 charitable gambling with many restrictions
- 1966 State Lottery “implementing language” followed
- 1975 amendment of wording on charitable gambling
- 1984 further rewrites about wording on charitable gambling
- 2001 small change in § 9 “fireman” to” firefighter.” Many such small changes throughout entire Constitution, most of which were to replace gender specifying pronouns or titles.
*An excellent article on the amendment process for the years 1967-1993 is by Gerald Benjamin and Melissa Cusa “Amending the New York State Constitution Through the Legislature” pp 55-73 at the following web site:
As of now, the NYS Lottery operates about 13,000 virtual slot machines at nine racinos (Hamburg, Aqueduct, Monticello, Saratoga, Yonkers, Finger Lakes, Vernon Downs, Batavia and Tioga). Chapter 383 of the Laws of October 2001 allowed the State Lottery to join with Mega Millions (2002). In 2010 Powerball, another multistate lottery with stupendous prizes, was allowed. Both these events have very frequent drawings, not daily, with the jackpot rising when there is no winner yet. Two other Jackpot “Games” wholly under State Lottery are Lotto (draws not daily, prize rises until winner known) and Sweet Million (draws not daily, fixed prize $1M). There are four Daily “games” Take 5, Numbers, Win 4 and Pick 10. There are at least 8000 Quick Draw settings, with a result every 4 minutes, 23.5 hours a day. There are scratchoff instant games for bets ranging from one dollar to thirty dollars. Here are the returns for FY 2012 (thru March 31) for each category. Column 2 and 3 in $millions.
Category Intake “To Education” % “To Education”
|Social (Quick Draw)||502||156||31|
|“Casinos” (Video Gaming)||1426||696||48|
The first four rows, inexplicably referred to as “Traditional,” returned to the Lottery 7.01 billion before prize payouts. Most of the return went to prizes. “To Education” went 2.10 billion, or 31% . The racinos (AKA “Video Gaming Casinos”) saw a total amount bet of 19.48 billion, with a net of 1.426 billion after payouts to bettors. “To Education” went 696 million (48%). Because these establishments must by law contribute to horse racing and to the support of the privately-owned tracks at which they are situated, slightly less than half their net passed “to Education.” In summary, Lottery as a whole sent “to Education” 2.89 billion in FY 2012. This figure will likely be more in FY 2013, with Aqueduct’s share up and that of Yonkers, down.
Opinions are my own, do not necessarily relect those of other members of CAGNY. Photo from flickrCC “scratchoff cards”