Of the six statewide ballot propositions to be put before voters on Nov. 5, the casino expansion question potentially has the most immediate impact throughout New York.

Voters will the see following: "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?"

Much attention has been given, rightly so, to the rosy language in the second half of this proposition. There's no question that state leaders in support of the measure went too far with this wording that implies benefits statewide benefits they can hardly guarantee.

Having said that, it's still important to weigh the ballot question on the legitimate merits. And given where New York and its neighboring states are today with respect to legalized gambling, it makes sense for voters to approve this constitutional amendment.

We don't believe the hype that some casino expansion supporters are pushing about the huge windfalls these operations can create for New York governments. New York cannot, and should not try, to make the gambling industry an economic engine.

But it's still reasonable to believe well-designed and well-run casino resorts can bring a net economic gain to the state.

More importantly, the failure to move ahead could do the opposite.

All around the Northeast, states have expanded casino gambling in recent years. And plenty of New Yorkers, especially those living near a state border, have been taking their discretionary dollars to these facilities and the communities that host them. All other things being equal, it makes sense for New York state to allow casinos within its borders in order to keep those revenues here.

The trends around the Northeast, and the changing attitudes of the electorate in New York, also point to an inevitability about casino expansion in this state. If it does not happen this year, it's going to happen eventually. And one strength of this proposed amendment is it allows the expansion in a limited, thoughtful manner.

By restraining the number of full-fledged casinos to seven, and spacing them out in regions throughout the state, this expansion proposal guards against the over-saturation of casino gambling facilities that can be seen in some other states. When that happens, the tourism impact of the facilities dwindles.

So as much as we continue to be irked by the way this ballot question is being asked, it's ultimately our conclusion that the right choice is to check the "yes" box on election day.

(4) comments

liberal karl
liberal karl

I am shocked, and disgusted with the Citizen for endorsing this expanding infection of criminal enterprise by offering the weakest of justifications: "Hey, everybody ELSE is doing it; we might as well get in on it too!" THIS IS HOW THIS INFECTION SPREADS! With ill-considered arguments that offer the thinnest reasons which defy FACTS and studies which show that the entry of casinos has short-term gains for a small segment of society, but a much wider detrimental social impact!

This is nothing but the local drug lord of crime boss's practice of paying for a few senior citizens' new roofs, or a playground at the local preschool in order to "get in good" with the locals. It's "corruption" writ-large!!

WHY DO YOU THINK THE BALLOT QUESTION WAS FUDGED?!!? You don't have to do this when the product you're selling is good! YOU ONLY DO THAT when you're trying to slip one by the buyer!

SHAME ON THE CITIZEN for "drinking the Kool Aid" with this poorly-considered, regrettable endorsement!!


"All other things being equal, it makes sense for New York state to allow casinos within its borders in order to keep those revenues here." But all other things are not equal. Bringing back dollars from other states also involves the creation of many thousands of NEW pathological and problem gamblers because of proximity to those new casinos. The cost to society and taxpayers (not to speak of human misery involved in bankruptcy, crime, suicide, and other ills) is much greater than the recaptured dollars. ) As to the "inevitablity "of more casinos, what a pathetic argument --you can choose the better path but defer in the name of inevitability. I am very disappointed in your editorial stance and hope readers will want better for their communities and their children.


Right on, liberal karl - what a pathetic excuse for casinos: "Everybody else is doing it". I suspect the editorial writer was similarly motivated as a teenager (if not still one), when it came to illegal drugs, under-age drinking and all that: "Everybody else is doing that".

Prncipled living is not grounded in "Everybody else is doing it"; it's grounded in a sense of what's right and what's wrong; clearly, this newspaper is lacking the moral compass necessary for making sound, reasoned judgments about what is good for the people of New York State, but I am hopeful that people like liberal karl will exercise their own sense of right and wrong on Election Day and send Proposition #1 to the trash heap where it belongs.

Cyrus Field
Cyrus Field

Central New York already has Turning Stone and anymore casinos in this region would harm the Turning Stone and any new ones. Will New York position a casino in the Buffalo Niagara region when Ontario on the Lake is already there? If this is done - then all the casinos will dilute each other to no good outcome. Small regional casinos can vacuum out anywhere from $200M to $400M per year in regions where that number would be a huge chunk of overall retail spending locally. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun vacuum up $1 Billion annually. These are low end jobs dependent upon a community squandering their discretionary income on games of chance. This at a time when personal incomes are stagnant or falling and unemployment for many demographics is double digit or worse. New York State should create a low cost electric rate for major businesses that move to New York - now, that would be investing in jobs...

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