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Local News

September 14, 2013

State clearly wants a 'yes' on casinos

The wording of the state referendum that would allow up to seven new casinos to open in New York makes it sound as if all New Yorkers will be in the clover if voters agree it’s a good idea to change the state Constitution to permit commercial gambling.

Good government groups in Albany are in a lather over the way the ballot item has been scripted like a push poll question. Push polls are artfully constructed to attain a desired result. In this case, those desiring the result of a constitutional amendment are Albany’s powers that be. They have concluded that a good way to fatten up state coffers is to bring casino gambling to New York in a big way.

Of course, many other states are expanding gambling at the same time, which does not surprise us, as politicians tend to veer away from the politically hard choices, such as cutting programs that are popular with voters or raising taxes.

While one could argue that a consequence of an array of new casinos might be legions of new problem gamblers, that potential outcome is not mentioned in the marketing gimmick dressed up as a referendum that will go before voters in November. How inconvenient that would be.

The ballot reads:

“The proposed amendment to Section 9 of Article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?”

Of course, no one can be shocked to find that politics has seeped into the electoral process. The question, after all, was scripted in Albany. It’s about as stunning a development as finding gambling in Rick’s Café Americain.

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