Steve Wynn, newly installed on Central Park South, says restricting casino licenses ‘opens the door for corruption’

Steve Wynn. (sarahinvegas via Flickr)
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Gambling magnate Steve Wynn, who is interested in opening a casino in New York, said yesterday that when states limit the number of casinos that can operate within their borders, they breed corruption.

"The minute you start saying, we’re only going to have three, we’re only going to have four, you open the door for corruption of one kind of another, period," said Wynn last night, during a party for his old associate Skip Bronson's new book,The War at the Shore: Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, and the Epic Battle to Save Atlantic City. "And that’s an absolute statement on my part."

Also at the party at the Loews Regency on Park Avenue: Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and Arianna Huffington.

Wynn, a billionaire who has built casinos across the country and whose publicly traded Wynn Resorts owns the Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, and Wynn Macau, said he was speaking generally and not specifically about New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has led a push to legalize gambling, but plans to limit the number of casino licenses to seven.

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"The restricted amount of licenses immediately creates political corruption, of some kind or another, maybe not the criminal kind or anything like that, but it’s all about favoritism and who you know, not about what you build," said Wynn.

In New York State, Malaysian gambling giant Genting has had a head start in lobbying the governor, who touted the company's proposal to build a convention center near its Aqueduct racino in his State of the State speech. Later, shortly before the New York Times reported that the Cuomo administration had steered contributions from Genting and other gambling interests toward an allied political group, Cuomo backed away from the proposal.

Asked, then, whether New York was wrong to limit the number of potential casinos to seven, Wynn said, "Well I don’t have any idea what New York is thinking of doing, so I don't really have an intelligent answer."

Wynn has just bought a $70 million penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South, which he pointed to as affirmation of his continued interested in getting one of the casino licenses here.

"I got a new apartment in New York!," he said. "I bought it this morning and I’m gonna move in this fall."