Two former government officials and a university president will be among those who will select who gets a private casino license in New York, the state Gaming Commission announced Thursday.
Former state Budget Director Paul Francis, Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz and Bill Thompson, former New York City comptroller and mayoral candidate, will be three of the five members of a board tasked with reviewing applications for up to four casinos upstate.
When filled, the board will have five members appointed by the Gaming Commission, which is led by Mark Gearan, the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Gearan was appointed to the gaming post by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January.
“These individuals have the expertise, objectivity and knowledge of New York state to evaluate the applications to operate destination resort casinos,” Gearan said in a statement. “I thank them for their commitment to bringing much-needed economic development, revenue and jobs to upstate New York.”
State voters approved a constitutional amendment in November that permitted up to seven private, non-Indian casinos statewide. Under a separate law, only four licenses can be issued in the first five years and are limited to the Capital Region, Catskills and Southern Tier.
Francis, a Westchester resident, was budget director under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and director of state operations under David Paterson. He was an adviser to Cuomo from 2011 until 2013, when he stepped down amid medical concerns.
Rabinowitz has been Hofstra president since 2000. Thompson was defeated by now-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a Democratic primary last year, and was city comptroller from 2002 through 2009.