Addabbo Casino Bill Heavy On Lobbyist Speak, Says Media Report

Posted on: June 7, 2024, 04:22h. 

Last updated on: June 7, 2024, 04:22h.

Legislation proposed last month by Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) to expedite the approval of three New York City-area casino licenses reportedly contains copy that is talking points from a lobbying firm working on behalf of Genting.

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New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo. A media outlet reported that he cut and pasted lobbyist language in a recent bill aimed at accelerating the New York casino approval process. (Image: NYSenate.Gov)

The Malaysian conglomerate runs Resorts World New York in Queens. That venue is near Addabbo’s district and is viewed as one of the leading contenders to procure one of the three downstate permits because of its long operating history in New York and track record of delivering large tax receipts to the state.

A recent article by Chris Bragg and Arabella Saunders of New York Focus indicates that text of Addabbo’s legislation to speed up the state’s languishing downstate casino approval process was lifted almost verbatim from a Word document. The media outlet examined the Word document’s metadata, discovering that writer of the document was Ali Rimkunas.

Rimkunas is an associate at lobbying firm Codro & Company — a firm to which Genting is paying $90,000 a month for various lobbying efforts. She didn’t comment to New York Focus, but Codro’s website confirms she works on gaming issues.

Addabbo Pushing to Speed Up New York Casino Approval Process

As things currently stand, decisions on the downstate casino permits might not arrive until late 2025 or early the following year. That’s to the dismay of some gaming companies and policymakers, including Addabbo, that want to fast-track the process in effort to the tap into the jobs-creating and revenue-generating aspects of downstate casinos.

Last month, Addaboo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) recently proposed bills that, if signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), would prompt bidders for the New York City area casinos to submit applications by July 31, potentially paving the way for approvals by the middle of 2025.

The state senator confirmed that Codro made some suggestions on language for his legislation, but he told New York Focus his counsel authored the bill.

Never does anyone have a verbatim, rubber-stamp authority from the outside, no less to get their bill written, and that did not happen here,” he said in an interview with the reporters.

His support of Resorts World New York’s efforts to claim one of the three downstate permits is well-documented. Genting has promised significant expansion plans at the property and at least $1 billion in annual taxes to Albany if it can convert the property to a Las Vegas-style casino hotel.

Addabbo Bill Already Amended

Unless Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) calls an emergency session, New York’s 2024 legislative session ended yesterday. Earlier this week, Addabbo and State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) introduced an amendment that would require regulators to establish Aug. 31 as the deadline for applications from gaming companies with the aim of awarding the three licenses by the end of next year.

That wouldn’t do much to speed along the already widely criticized timeline, but it could give some bidders that are in precarious positions time to firm their proposals or seek alternatives.

Specific to Queens, Genting pressing for casino acceleration legislation makes sense because a proposal by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International to build an entertainment district with an integrated resort near Citi Field is on life support.

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