Cuomo’s shifting casino policy

February 12, 2013 9:35 am

First it was seven casinos and a giant convention center next to a racetrack in Queens. Then it was a phased in plan starting with three casinos located in upstate New York to help struggling regions. Make that four casinos upstate. Now, it’s casinos wherever lawmakers want.

When it comes to shaping New York’s gambling policy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears to be playing roulette. Spin the wheel and see what umber comes up. Initially, Cuomo said the state was already in the gambling business but he planned to do it right. It turns out that Cuomo’s version of what is right is more like a game of three card monte.

In just one year Cuomo’s casino vision has changed four times. Five if you count that he never even mentioned adding casinos when he ran for governor. It is likley Cuomo’s casino plan will keep changing as competing gambling interests flood Albany with campaign contributions and lobby lawmakers in secret. It is all part of the mad scramble by casino operators to get a slice of New York’s gambling pie.

The process is often ugly and has no rhyme or reason. Money and power trump common sense. Thoughtful study and analysis are no where to be found. Same goes for the social and economic costs of the state pushing more gambling as a way to fund the government. When it comes to changing the Constitution to legalize casinos in New York, Cuomo and fellow Albany lawmakers are playing a backroom game of craps.

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