New York Casinos Heavily Supporting Gov. Kathy Hochul Reelection Campaign

Casinos like to keep the odds in their favor, and in New York, the state’s gaming interests believe they have a winner in incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) when it comes to the 2022 gubernatorial election.

New York casinos Kathy Hochul campaign MGM
New York casinos Kathy Hochul campaign MGM
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is receiving support from US casino interests as she embarks on her first gubernatorial campaign. Hochul’s campaign has received money from such companies as Hard Rock International and Genting Group. (Image: Getty)

On November 8, 2022, Hochul hopes to become elected governor of New York for the first time. She replaced her predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), after he resigned last August amid numerous sexual misconduct allegations.

Hochul has close ties to the gaming industry. In fact, she’s quite literally in bed with gaming, as her husband, Bill Hochul, has worked as the senior vice president and general counsel of casino and hospitality conglomerate Delaware North since 2016.

Hochul is the heavy favorite for New York’s 2022 gubernatorial. On political betting exchange PredictIt, bettors give her a 94% of winning the election and being awarded her first full full-year term.

US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York) is her likely Republican challenger. PredictIt bettors give him a 90% chance of winning the GOP ticket for the New York governor’s race. Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is a distant second at just a 9% likelihood of being on the GOP ticket.

State Gaming Industry to Expand

New York’s commercial casino industry is currently limited to four casinos located upstate. But that is expected to soon change, as a moratorium on downstate casinos ends next year.

Three full-scale commercial casino licenses will potentially become available in 2023 for the New York City metro. The odds are strong that MGM Resorts and Genting Group will receive two of the coveted permits that will allow live table dealers and in-person sports betting, as those companies currently operate Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

Both gaming properties are “racinos” featuring slots and electronic automated table games. Genting additionally owns and operates Resorts World Catskills upstate in Monticello.

As for the expected lone remaining downstate license, the nation’s largest gaming players have expressed interest in building a casino resort in Manhattan. They include Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Hard Rock International, Bally’s Corporation, and Rush Street Gaming.

Casinos Funding Hochul

The licensed upstate casinos, as well as the aforementioned entities keeping close tabs on the downstate opportunity, have opened up their political war chests to support Hochul’s 2022 campaign. The New York Times reports that the governor has raised $34 million so far through her political action committee called “Friends for Kathy Hochul.”

Hard Rock and its potential New York investment partners have given heavily to Hochul. Since she became governor, the company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida has directed more than $120,000 to Hochul’s PAC. Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen also personally donated at least $28,000 to her reelection effort.

Jeff Gural, who owns Tioga Downs, has contributed $47,500, while Genting, through its political action committee called Catskill Support Committee, gave $23,100 earlier this month. Bally’s has donated $10,000 to date.

Las Vegas Sands, which has traditionally preferred Republicans over Democrats because of the company’s late founder Sheldon Adelson’s staunch support of the GOP, has so far only given the Hochul PAC $5,000.

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