More casino revenues for Niagara Falls

The revenue will stay in Niagara Falls instead of going to the State of New York.
The revenue will stay in Niagara Falls instead of going to the State of New York.

State Sen. Robert G. Ortt proposes a bill that seeks to give the City of Niagara Falls the largest share of revenues from casino slot machines located in Niagara Falls.

US.- State Sen. Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, proposed a bill that would give the City of Niagara Falls, rather than the State of New York, the largest share of revenues from casino slot machines in Niagara Falls.

Under Ortt’s bill the current formula would flip: The City of Niagara Falls would receive a 75 percent share of slot machine revenues and the state would receive 25 percent to divide among the stakeholders.On the other hand, the stakeholders disagree with stipulations on how that new money would be spent if Niagara Falls is allowed to take a 75 percent share of the slot revenue.

“It’s a huge flip, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Ortt. “When you look at the city’s own financial advisory board, the city is burning through casino cash and they are going to have to make some serious decisions regardless, but there is also a shrinking pot of casino revenues.”

Mayor Paul A. Dyster expressed: “It’s very clear that we have lost revenue due to the expansion of gaming in New York State, which has impacted our bottom line in Niagara Falls.”

If the amended law is approved it would set aside 40 percent for economic development and job creation. Under this law, nine-member economic development advisory group would be appointed to allocate funds and incentives to current and new businesses in Niagara Falls.

“I’m not just suggesting more money be put in the City of Niagara Falls general fund. The intent of the money is to change the trajectory of the City of Niagara Falls and I don’t know if you can say that has happened the way people envisioned 10 or 12 years ago,” Ortt added. “This would certainly be something big and bold for Niagara Falls.”