Saturday, April 23, 2011

Satisfying the gambling urge

There are many plans for new casinos in the New York area. Already, there are "racinos" at Pocono Downs, Monticello and Yonkers, and a casino boat operating out of Freeport. There are plans for a new racino at Aqueduct, and speculation about Indian casinos licensed by the Shinnecocks on Long Island and by the Munsee in the Catskills.

Pocono Downs is right on a train line and could eventually get direct service from Penn Station via the Lackawanna Cut-Off. Monticello used to be served by a branch line, but those tracks have been gone for a while. The Shinnecock lands are served by the Montauk Branch, and Freeport by the Babylon Line. Yonkers Raceway is near the Harlem Line, but it's a long walk or a shuttle bus ride.

Bizarrely, the Aqueduct racino has been touted as a way to avoid a repeat of last month's overnight gambling bus crash. "If you're coming from Chinatown, all you have to do is get on the A train," Audrey Pheffer told the Daily News.

We already knew that Pheffer is not a friend of transit; if I'm in a charitable mood I'd say she's clueless. There's a similar level of cluelessness and/or chutzpah involved in this statement of hers.

The overnight gambling buses exist because their passengers work crazy hours, and the only times they have available to gamble are in the middle of the night. It's nice that the Aqueduct racino will only be a half hour away instead of four hours, and reachable by the A train (although I'd think twice about taking a lot of money on the A train in the middle of the night). But will the Aqueduct be open late enough? The Yonkers Raceway is open until 2AM most nights and until 4AM Friday and Saturday nights, and the gamblers still chose to go to Mohegan Sun. What hours will the Aqueduct be open, and will it be enough to draw the overnight gamblers away from Connecticut?


Adirondacker12800 said...

Casino's take debit cards and credit cards, no need to haul cash around. Most of them will take personal checks too.

Cap'n Transit said...

Adirondacker, the problem isn't getting money to the casino, but home from there. Remember that many of the overnight gamblers are undocumented immigrants without bank accounts.