TV ad: Cuomo’s dad dissed casinos

November 1, 2013 9:46 am

A group opposed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to change the state constitution to legalize commercial casinos launched a TV ad that uses Cuomo’s father to make their case.

In the ad, a narrator recounts what former Gov. Mario Cuomo once said about casinos:

“There is a respectable body of economic thought that holds that casino gambling is actually economically regressive to a state and a community. Casinos are a whole different breed. It changes communities. It does not generate wealth, it just redistributes it.”

The ad then says: “Mario Cuomo didn’t support changing the New York State constitution to allow Las Vegas-style casinos. He knew gambling was a bad bet for New York. Vote with Cuomo. Vote ‘no’ on Proposition 1.” See the ad here.

The Cuomo administration immediately responded by getting Cuomo’s dad to essentially reject his position.

“I made those statements in 1994. A great deal has changed in 20 years,” Mario Cuomo said in a statement. “The New York that I was dealing with was a different place. We didn’t have casinos on every border. Gaming was only in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Today couldn’t be more different . . . New York is surrounded by states that have casino gaming – and casinos are a short drive from anywhere in the state. So New York has to compete with out of state gaming.”

The group that released the ad responded to Mario Cuomo’s comments.

“What hasn’t changed since 1994 is the fact that casino gambling continues to be a form of regressive taxation - and casino gambling ‘changes communities’ for the worse. What also hasn’t changed is that casinos take advantage of those who can least afford it. That’s why everyone from The New York Times to the New York Post, to the head of the Conservative Party to stalwart progressive elected officials like State Senator Liz Krueger, urge a NO vote on Proposal 1,” a spokesman for the Committee Against Proposition 1 said.

Unlike his thoughtful father, Andrew Cuomo made clear that he is now forever “linked” to casino gambling. Despite never mentioning casinos while campaigning for governor, Andrew Cuomo made casinos the cornerstone of his economic agenda just months after getting elected.

As a result, there is a lot riding on the Nov. 5 casino vote for Cuomo. That’s why Cuomo cut a variety of deals with competing gambling interests and rigged the wording on the ballot referendum. Polls showed voters were divided on casinos, but support increased after voters saw the rigged language on the referendum.

Fred Dicker of the New York Post wrote recently that Cuomo was worried about losing the casino vote, feeling that his “personal prestige” was on the line.

Note to Andrew Cuomo: There is nothing prestigious about pushing a regressive business that does not produce anything; does not generate new spending; takes advantage of vulnerable citizens; has a corrupting influence of government and gets a third or more of its revenue from repeat and problem gamblers.

There was a time when a smart governor named Mario Cuomo knew that.

Casino support in NY drops

February 7, 2013 8:45 am

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to change the state Constitution to allow more casinos is losing support among New York residents, according to a recent poll.

Only 48 percent of New Yorkers support Cuomo’s casino plan, down from 52 percent the previous month. Another 42 percent oppose the plan while 10 percent are undecided.

“Passage of the amendment by voters is still an iffy proposition and far from a sure bet,” Siena poll spokesman Steven Greenberg told the New York Post. The Coalition Against Gambling in New York said recently that Cuomo has not leveled with residents about the true impact of his casino plan.

The lack of public support for casinos may help explain why Cuomo scaled back plans from seven to three casinos limited to upstate New York only. Of course, the other four casinos will likely follow quickly. But by limiting the initial opening of casinos, Cuomo hopes to get the votes needed to change the state Constitution. Voters should keep in mind that there is a reason why the state’s forefathers thought it was important to prohibit casinos. They should also ask why Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, opposed casinos when he was in office. Likewise, the current Gov. Cuomo never even mentioned casinos when he was running for office, but has suddenly become a champion of the Government Gambling Complex.

Cuomo .vs Cuomo on casinos

January 4, 2012 11:55 am

David Blankenhorn weighs in with his second op-ed in two days on casino gambling.

Blankenhorn’s piece in the New York Daily News details how Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support of casinos differs from his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo. (Disclosure: Blankenhorn heads the Institute for American Values, which funds this blog.)

In 1994, Mario Cuomo said bringing casinos into a  state “doesn’t generate wealth, it just redistributes it.” He warned that, if the Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to bring casinos to the  state, he might “fight the proposal in public debate.”

In his book, “The New York Idea,” Mario Cuomo cited civic, religious, personal and economic reasons for his  opposition to casinos. “There is a respectable body of economic thought that  holds that casino gambling is actually economically regressive to a state and a  community,” he wrote.

The elder Cuomo is right of course. Should make for some interesting dinner conversation at the Cuomo house. Left unsaid of course: Considering that Mario Cuomo was considered one of the more thoughtful elected officials, where does that leave the son?