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New York Gambling Interests Step Up Spending to Secure Approval

State officials considered a cap on lobbyist spending in relation to gambling interests, but they removed that restriction, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Casino companies angling to be one of the four allowed in the state spent $11 million lobbying politicians and contributing to their campaigns in 2012 and 2013, writes The Legislative Gazette.

The Gazette based its report on information released earlier this month by the New York Public Interest Research Group, which says that $6.7 million was spent by the companies on lobbying and $4.3 million was contributed to local and state election campaigns.

State officials considered a cap on lobbyist spending in relation to gambling interests, but they removed that restriction, according to NYPIRG. 

The entity that spent the largest portion of the $11 million - nearly $2.5 million of it - was Genting, which has an interest in the Sterling Forest Resort, Resorts World Hudson Valley and Montreign Resort Casino. Among the other entities that lobbied and contributed to campaigns were New York Gaming Association, Empire Resorts, Seneca Nation of Indians, Louis Cappelli and Ceasars Entertainment Operating Co. Corp.

Resorts World Hudson Valley is proposed for Montgomery, NY in Orange County, which is a hotbed of activity to attract casinos. Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus has been a vocal supporter of the move.

"Orange County casinos can create more jobs than any other in the state as well as compete with future gaming projects in New York City," said Neuhaus in a statement last month. "Interest in our quality workforce and superior infrastructure has meant that, unlike other areas, we do not need tax breaks to bring gaming to Orange County. If the law is followed, Orange County is the obvious location for a casino. Gaming here creates the most economic benefit for the region and state, can help put to work Orange County’s 9,800 unemployed residents, and can generate the most revenue for education and property tax relief."

By a healthy margin, New Yorkers voted last fall to approve the expansion of casino gambling in the state, according to The New York Times, despite there being some opposition to the move. 

Click here to view the New York Public Interest Research Group report.

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