Gov. Andrew Cuomo this morning made it clear that the Legislature won’t have a final role in determining where casinos will ultimately be built despite entreaties from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Cuomo, who held a news conference with Senate Co-Presidents Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein and Silver following the first four-way leaders meeting of the year, said that lawmakers should have a role in shaping the state’s casino and gambling policy.

But the final bid approval and specific siting of the casinos should be up to a gaming commission whose members he picks.

“We also all agree that the actual selection of bids, specific locations, should be left to an indpendent, non-political body, so I think we’re in conceptual agreement on that,” he said.

Cuomo did say that lawmakers will have some input or at least knowledge of where the casinos — his enabling legislation calls for up to three north of the New York City metropolitan region — will be built before they vote on the measure.

The Legislature is also expected to take up second passage of a constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling in New York beyond those run by American-Indian tribes.

“We’re not just looking for a casino, we’re looking for a regional resort destination,” Cuomo said. “We want a regional tourism attraction, we want to create jobs, we want the approval of the local communities, so all of that would be a part of it.”

Silver, however, still wants his members to have some role in the policy making.

“I think generally members would like to know what the general plan is,” he said.

The debate over where to place casinos is a potentially politically charged and lucrative one, but empowering the governor’s gaming commission could avoid an injection of political in-fighting over the issue (or at leas that’s the goal).

Skelos, the Senate Republican leader, cited the scandal over AEG in his desire to not be involved in the bid selection process.

“I know personally for myself do not want to deal with vendors, let the gaming commission do it,” he said. “They can select what’s in the best interest of the taxpayers.”

But Skelos also opened the door to the possibility of more casinos in the final enabling legislation for casinos, with one placed on Long Island at the Belmont Racetrack, which he represents.

“This is the first discussion that we’ve had,” he said. “Obviously I’m going to sit down and discuss it with my conference.”

So does that mean more than just the three the governor proposed?

“It could be more than three, sure,” Skelos said.

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