New York Governor Eyes Casino Reopenings, As Workers Rally Again Demanding Jobs

Posted on: August 27, 2020, 01:57h. 

Last updated on: August 28, 2020, 01:41h.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) says he is reviewing when he will allow casinos and other businesses to reopen statewide.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told reporters he is monitoring when he will allow casinos to reopen. Commercial casinos were closed statewide in mid-March with a spike in COVID-19 deaths. (Image: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

“These are fluid situations, depending on the facts,” Cuomo told reporters in a telephone briefing on Thursday, Aug. 27. “We will make determinations at the appropriate time.”

The governor added he is “calibrating” the reopening not only of casinos, but also of movie theaters, indoor dining in restaurants, and more.

In mid-March, with COVID-19 deaths on the rise, Cuomo ordered the closing of nonessential businesses, including commercial casinos, across the state. Since then, Cuomo has permitted fitness centers, gyms, and more to reopen with safety precautions in place. But he has declined to set a timetable on when he will allow casinos to begin operating again.

Meanwhile, the state’s positive rate of COVID-19 tests has remained below 1 percent for 20 straight days, Cuomo announced on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Casino Workers Rally

Hoping to prod the governor, casino workers rallied at the Capitol in Albany on Aug. 20. About 50 people attended the midday event, which lasted more than an hour. Some in attendance carried signs as they marched.

This week, workers have scheduled more rallies to let Cuomo know they want their jobs back, according to

Rallies were slated to be held at the del Lago Resort and Casino near Waterloo, New York, and other casinos, said Valerie McIntyre, a table and games supervisor at del Lago. The casino is in the Finger Lakes region, about 45 miles west of Syracuse.

This is about us personally, as workers,” McIntyre told “We want to get back to work.”

The organizers have started a petition, urging that casinos be allowed reopen. The petition had more than 3,800 signatures by Thursday, Aug. 27.

Budget Crunch

The Empire State is home to four commercial casinos and eight video-only sites, such as racetracks. The combined workforce totals more than 10,000, as Michael Kane, president and executive director of the New York Gaming Association, told

New York’s tribal casinos, which are not under state jurisdiction, are open, according to the American Gaming Association website.

With commercial casinos closed, the state will receive about $600 million less is gaming tax money this fiscal year than the previous one, according to the state Division of the Budget Press Officer Freeman Klopott. The fiscal year began April 1.

About 80 percent of the gaming tax revenue goes to education, while the other 20 percent is distributed to municipalities.

This loss will be covered by cash from the state general fund, Klopott told However, the state faces an overall $14.5 billion shortfall and will need assistance from the federal government, Klopott said.

The New York State United Teachers union is asking for a tax on the “ultra-wealthy” as one way to make up for the shortfall, President Andy Pallotta said in an email to