Monday, October 21, 2013

Are the Odds Stacked in Favor of Las Vegas Style Casinos in New York State

  In several recent media reports on Election Day voting for the 6 ballot proposals, ballot proposal #1 is to allow the state legislature to authorize up to seven casinos statewide. To help stack the odds in favor of having voters pass this ballot proposal the following words have been added. "The purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated". Already there are plans for four upstate casinos, deals have been struck with the Native American tribes that run federally approved casinos for no nearby casinos, a deal for no such casino in Manhattan, and a deal with the New York Racing Association to have no new casino near any of the seven NYRA tracks that have Racino's. That could mean that the Bronx most likely could not get a casino since there is a Racino at Yonkers Raceway right over the New York City line. 

   It is reported that 17 million dollars has been spent on lobbying for casinos in New York, with 3 million dollars contributed to state politicians and parties in the last two years alone, and Governor Cuomo receiving almost 250 thousand dollars of the 3 million dollars in contributions. This was made possible in March of 2012 when part of a deal with the legislature removed a prohibition from receiving campaign contributions from gambling interests.

   It is also reported that Governor Cuomo sees the new casinos as the best way to jump start the stagnant upstate economy. by creating new jobs and up to 1 billion dollars in new revenue to pay for proposed tax cuts and aid to education. 
  In a recent poll reported to have been done less than half on the people questioned were in favor of adding more casinos, but when the additional language of promoting job growth, more aid to education, and lower taxes was added more than half of the people questioned were in favor of adding more casinos.  

  If you can remember back to when the lottery was introduced revenue was to go to supporting aid to schools. What happen was that as lottery revenues came in state monies were reduced so little if any additional money went to education. Also don't forget the NYC OTB which provided new jobs with other promises of where the revenue would go. What happen was that NYC OTB went bankrupt costing more than it was worth. 

 A pro casino group NY JOBS is also about to mount a multi-million dollar advertising campaign in favor of ballot proposal #1.
   "This process appears rigged,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “The best place to influence voters is in the polling place – which is why you can’t do it. Unless the amendment language is ‘gamed.’ ” 


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