ALBANY – Common Cause/NY makes it clear that it neither supports nor opposes legalizing casino gaming in New York, but it does believe that gaming interests that contributed $3.2 million to politicians and committees, is over the top.
Voters will have an opportunity on Election Day to say ‘yeah’ or ‘nay’ on the issue of gaming. Common Cause/NY’s “Moreland Monday” analysis says gambling interests are stacking the deck in favor of passage, according to spokeswoman Susan Lerner.
“What we want to be sure in every instance is that the election is a fair contest where citizens have access to the ballot, their votes are counted, we want to be sure that the game is not rigged or, in other words, that the deck isn’t stacked the voter, and our concern is that the large amount of campaign spending by gambling interests has stacked the deck against the voter,” Lerner said.
From 2011 through July 2013, gaming interests gave the New York State Assembly Campaign Committee contributions totaling $414,750. The Senate Republican Campaign Committee received $403,750. Governor Cuomo’s campaign committee received $361,500. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman campaign committee received $129,500; Senator John Bonacic (R, Mt. Hope), chairman of the Senate Gaming and Wagering Committee, received $86,806 in his campaign fund. Gary Pretlow (D, Yonkers), chairman of the Assembly Gaming and Wagering Committee, received $64,659.
Corporations and organizations contributing during that time period included the New York Gaming Association, which represents racinos - $543,051; Yonkers Raceway, which operates a racino - $218,294; Genting New York, which is a large stockholder in Empire Resorts, operator of Monticello Casino and Raceway -- $191,175; Empire Resorts - $22,550; Cappelli Enterprises/Concord Associates, which hope to build a resort/casino in Kiamesha Lane – $66,000; Blue Chip Farms, which operates a thoroughbred breeding farm in Wallkill - $6,650; Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association - $3,240; and Entertainment Properties Trust, which owns a large tract of land and plans to partner with Empire Resorts in Kiamesha Lake – $2,000.