Most NY Voters Support Casinos

A majority of New Yorkers polled about new commercial casinos say they’re a good idea for certain regions. The Catskills and the Southern Tier regions would be the best sites for new gaming, said people who were surveyed. Not so much the Capitol Region.

Newburgh: No “Santa list” for casino developers

A new poll by Time Warner Cable News and Siena College in New York showed that most voters like the idea of casinos to revitalize the Catskill Mountains region and the Southern Tier. They are not united in their support of a casino in the Capital Region, however.

According to the Oneida Dispatch, voters supported a Catskills/Hudson Valley casino by 48 percent to 35 percent and a Southern Tier/Finger Lakes casino by 45 percent to 36 percent. There was no clear winner among citizens over a Capital Region casino, which was almost split with 44 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed.

“Right now, voters in the three regions slated for new casinos are willing to gamble on the projects,” said Donald Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute. “Overwhelmingly, citizens hope for new jobs and help with tax revenues. While many people expect the new casinos to make their area a better place, the majority will wait and see.”

Most respondents were concerned about increased traffic and more crime. Some were concerned that a casino would be a burden on local resources, and others felt that casinos would have a negative impact on the character of the regions.

The mayor of South Blooming Grove in the Catskills/Hudson Valley region believes a casino would be a boon to his community. Mayor Rob Jeroloman told the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record that if the Cordish Companies and Penn National Gaming win their bid to bring a casino to the five-square-mile community, “There would be upgrades. We would get another water tower. This would mitigate the amount of water breaks we have in the winter.”

That’s not asking much, and Supervisor Gil Piaquadio of the town of Newburgh says communities shouldn’t come up with a “Santa list” for the would-be developers. “The casino has to make money, too,” he said. However, he has arranged for Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which is bidding on a project called the Hudson Valley Casino & Resort, to pay a total of $2.6 million to the Valley Central, Wallkill and Marlboro school districts, and to pay the city about $1.2 million per year in perpetuity.

Thompson Supervisor Bill Rieber said his community is happy simply to “to have the growth.”

The debate is sure to continue even after the New York Gaming Commission selects the winners this fall. Until then, said Jeroloman, “This is all pie in the sky.”