Casino support slips in New York

March 7, 2012 11:58 am

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to change the state Constitution to legalize commercial casinos is losing public support and hurting the governor’s approval rating, a new poll says.

Just last month, 52 percent of New Yorkers polled were in favor of commercial casinos and 44 percent were opposed. Now, support for the casino has slipped to 49 percent, while opposition has increased to 48 percent, according to a Siena College poll.

At the same time, Cuomo’s approval rating has also dropped from 74 percent to 69 percent, the poll found. To be sure, the decline in support for casinos is not huge, but it is a telling drop considering the proposal was just floated in January. No doubt Cuomo remains popular. But New Yorkers clearly don’t seem crazy about Cuomo’s plan to turn New York into the next Las Vegas. Many voters realize that casinos come with social and economic costs that outweigh the tax benefits to the state. (Free plug department: See my op-ed in The New York Times for some of the reasons why casinos in New York are a bad idea.)

Interestingly, Cuomo’s father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, opposed casinos. And he was considered one of the more thoughtful elected officials that have come along in recent times. It will be interesting to see if Andrew Cuomo really wants his legacy to be that he was the Empire State’s godfather of gambling.

The false promise of casinos

December 12, 2011 11:37 am

Casino operators and their government enablers do a good job of selling the idea that gambling is going to jump start the local economy. But this take on the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut shows the casino prospers but there is very little spin off for area businesses. It is a good cautionary tale for what awaits resident in Massachusetts and possibly New York.

If anything, there are increased costs that lawmakers and casinos supporters fail to factor in when touting the benefits of gambling. As with most other casinos, gamblers travel to the Mohegan Sun and they go home. Very few stop or spend money in the shops in the towns surrounding the casino.

Since the Mohegan Sun has opened, there has been an increase in drunk driving incidents. There is increased use of the roads. The schools have seen costs go up from the influx of casino workers with children who require special services such as language skills. Then there is the increase in problem gambling that quietly destroys families that live near the casino.

Yes, the casinos bring jobs and increased tax reneue. But the costs outweigh the benefits.