The Shinnecock Casino Will Solve the New York State Budget Crisis

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06/16/2010 1:05 PM |


It’s historically been considered appropriate to raise money by fostering destructive behavior—like how the lottery encourages the already impoverished to make desperate, ill-conceived financial decisions, not just by the fact of its existence but through constant aggressive advertising—and it’s historically been considered inappropriate nanny-statism to raise money by encouraging more constructive choices, like a tax on plastic bags or soda would do (far more passively). So, as the state of New York braces for crippling across-the-board cuts to vital services (if we ever pass another budget), we greet with a certain amount of relief the news that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has decided to recognize the Shinnecock, of Southampton.

This means they can build a casino! Perhaps just slots all the way out at the end of the LIRR, but possibly table games closer to New York City itself, in which case the state would split some of the revenue, and probably pick up more tax dollars from surrounding hotels, $50 steakhouses, sales of Eagles reunion tour tickets, etc.

The only potential downside here, aside of course from the brutal tackiness and squandered fortunes, is the likely dip in revenue for bus companies, who will no longer be able to rack up fat margins by ferrying senior citizens to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun at 4 in the morning.