In 2013, New York voters approved a law allowing multiple casino developments throughout upstate New York in order to bring more jobs to the financially-depressed region. Now it seems the casino developers are aiming to build their mega gambling and entertainment complexes near college campuses, where they know there are large, youthful populations with money seeking thrills and vices.

Casinos Put Up Hands for Sites Near Colleges

Casino gambling may soon be added to the list of campus vices in New York, drawing anticipation from college students and concern from legislators and school officials.

Nearly all of the 16 proposals currently being considered as New York state casino sites are within a 25-mile radius of a college or university. Three of the more-elaborate plans are located minutes from large schools.

“Many young people are already stretching a dollar and accruing debt,” said Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, an upstate Democrat who sits on the state Assembly’s higher-education committee. “This doesn’t seem like it would help.”

Voters in 2013 approved a measure to permit a limited number of New York casino sites and applications are now being reviewed by a state board to select four.

Some rules have governed the proposal process—no sites can be located in New York City for now—but no restrictions have been placed on a casino’s proximity to schools.

Hard Rock International has proposed a nearly $300 million gambling complex with 1,500 slot machines in Rensselaer, about 3 miles from the College of St. Rose and eight from the University at Albany-SUNY. Traditions Resort & Casino has proposed a 321,000-square-foot gambling complex in the Southern Tier, about 3 miles from Binghamton University and 6 from Broome Community College.