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Poll says casino gaming is a ‘smart bet’


| smosco@queenscourier.com


New Yorkers say “Hit me!”

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, residents want the state to amend its constitution and deal table games at New York Casinos similar to ones in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

The poll states that 56 percent of city and state residents would approve casinos. A more recent Siena College poll found that 57 percent of New Yorkers surveyed would allow non-Indian-run casinos to be built around the state, compared with 36 percent opposed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and most recently, Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have all indicated their support as well, along with State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr, who is a member of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee.

“Rather than see the money keep going to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos upstate, in this stagnant economy I believe we must start the process, including public input, for the expansion of Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) racinos into full casino gaming to increase our revenues and to boost education initiatives,” said Addabbo. “The smart bets are that voters would want to amend the NYS Constitution and ‘let the games begin’ – making it a win-win situation for the economy of our state and for our people.”

The senator is said to be working closely with operators at Resorts World Casino New York City, the developers at the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park, to ensure a healthy partnership benefiting the surrounding community.

James Featherstonhaugh, chairman of the New York Gaming Association, of which Resorts World is a member, said that allowing casino gambling in the state would inject a much needed jolt to local economy and jobs.

“We continue to believe that when New Yorkers know all the facts – the immediate ability to create thousands of jobs and the spin-off effect of expanded tourism – this support will only grow,” said Featherstonhaugh. “In this regard, our association will be reaching out to elected officials and the public in the coming weeks and months in an effort to educate people on the fact that New York is losing $5 billion annually to surrounding states that already have gaming. By enhancing gaming in New York, we can stop this drain, create jobs, stimulate our economy and generate more revenues for education.”