From the Morning Memo:

The National Urban League is joining the push to have the Las Vegas Sands gain a potentially lucrative license to operate a casino in the New York City area.

The casino company has sought to frame its effort to enter the New York City market as part of a jobs creating project, recruiting former Gov. David Paterson as a public face for the push, as well as prominent figures like NAACP New York Conference President Hazel Dukes.

“I look forward to working with Sands to make an impact on the communities that have far too often been left out of the progress and opportunities in this state,” said Marc Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League. “The expansion of downstate gaming will not only bring much needed revenue to the state to fund critical services, but it will provide thousands of new jobs and training programs to New York.”

Casino firms this year sought unsuccessfully to speed up the sunset date for upstate exclusivity in casino licenses. The state licenses four commercial casinos with table-top gaming in the Finger Lakes, Schenectady, Hudson Valley and Southern Tier.

Casino operators can have access to the New York City market by 2023 based on an enabling law that dovetailed with a constitutional amendment allowing table-top gaming in the state.

The push from casino operators including Sands and Genting have led to public efforts to position themselves as potential recipients.

“The National Urban League has a strong reputation of success in establishing business relationships around the country, and we look forward to partnering together in New York,” said Paterson, a senior advisor to Las Vegas Sands.

“Our main focus is to provide equal and unparalleled opportunity for all New Yorkers, and through this partnership and the expert knowledge of the National Urban League, I am fully confident that we are putting forth our best team to get the job done.”

But the struggles of some of the upstate casinos, along with what experts have said is a glut in the northeast market of gambling options, have led to complications for operators. Several casinos, both commercial and those run by Native American tribes, have introduced sports books in recent months to take advantage of new laws and regulations allowing bets on sporting events.

Meanwhile, Michael Levoff, formerly a top lobbyist for Genting and a corporate development executive for the company in the United States is joining Las Vegas Sands, the company said.

He was most recently the chairman of the New York Gaming Association.

Levoff led Genting’s push to work with Nassau OTB as well as the ongoing expansion of Aqueduct racino to include a 400-room hotel as well as secure slot machines for the company in Orange County at Woodbury.