Governor Cuomo spoke in his press conference on May 9, 2013 (at minute 46:16) about setting tax rates on the new casinos he wants to see and the competition he expects among bidders. He continued “I think we have an asset to sell.”
He did not say what the asset is. It must be something big casino companies want.
Greek yogurt production capability?
Deep shale natural gas?
Apple production capability?
Olympic-quality winter sports settings?
Maple sugar production capability?
None of the above.
What else could that asset be other than a population to be trawled for customers? New York’s people are on the block.
Casinos depend for half their “gross gaming revenue” on the small minority of their customers who are pathological or problem gamblers.* These categories make up a very small fraction (about 4%) of the adult population. To reward owners richly, the casinos must maintain this small sector AND replace each person in it as he or she recovers, dies, goes to prison, gets deathly ill or moves out of range. The asset that’s really up for grabs, the mother lode, is current and future pathological and problem gamblers.
Yet this is not all that’s for sale. Each of these gambling addicts or problem gamblers has hidden assets that can be tapped through him or her. Those are the fiscal and emotional resources of many non-gamblers who enable the addiction while the gambler betrays their love or trust .
The casino companies don’t just buy the opportunity to capture or create compulsive gamblers, They buy a network of pipelines through each one of those afflicted gamblers to drain six, eight or a dozen other people. Lesieur* put the number at seventeen.
This is the asset for sale. What are we bid?
Grinols, Earl L. and J.D. Omorow. J Law and Commerce (1996-97) 16: 49-87
Lesieur, Henry The Chase, 1976
The above text was distributed by hand to the offices of all legislators on June 4 and read at a press conference held by CAGNY that morning in the legislative office building. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of all CAGNY members. Permission is granted by the author, Stephen Q. Shafer, to reproduce in whole or in part as long as the permalink above is cited.