A plan that would lay out plans for locating up to three upstate casinos in the state budget appears very close to be scuttled for now and taken up later in the year.

“I think the Assembly wants them, the Senate wants them and I want them,” Cuomo said at a Red Room cabinet meeting. “We just have a different version of what we actually want.”

At issue is a struggle over how much influence the state Legislature should have over siting the casinos north of New York City. Cuomo says that the dim hopes for the siting language for the budget is a sign of lost leverage.  

“I know the conventional wisdom that during the budget process has more quote end quote leverage because of the extender process,” he said. “That extender process is a very ugly process. Once you go that route means you are in a hostile situation. So I wouldn’t want to go there unless we absolutely had to.”

It’s not wholly surprising that the casino siting language is difficult to lock down. Cuomo wants his gaming commission to choose where the casinos are built, assuming voters approve a constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling in New York beyond those run by American Indian nations.

Senate and Assembly leaders have said they want to allow their members to have some input on where the casinos are built, including whether they should be kept souly north of the New York City metropolitan area.  

Cuomo didn’t rule out passing the casinos siting being accomplished later in the legislative session, similar to other controversial issues such as the minimum wage increase.

“If we can’t do that during the budget we’ll do it during the session,” the governor said. “It is a complicated issue and given the short time frame it may very well be that casinos wait for June. But it’s not a question of leverage, it’s more just a question of time and how complex the matter.”