By Anthony Auspelmyer & Carlos Rivera
Poll goers will have more than local politicians to vote for this election day.
In addition to electing local officials, New York State residents will also be presented with six potential amendments to the state constitution. Only a majority vote is needed to pass any of the proposed amendments the first of which being an increase in authorized gambling. Below is the official wording of the first proposed amendment as provided on the NYS Board of Elections website (www.elections.ny.gov).
FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE, AN AMENDMENT
Authorizing Casino Gaming 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? ABSTRACT OF PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE, AN AMENDMENT The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution is to allow the Legislature to authorize and regulate up to seven casinos for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. TEXT OF PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE, AN AMENDMENT CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing an amendment to subdivision 1 of section 9 of article 1 of the constitution, in relation to casino gambling in the state Section 1. Resolved (if the Senate concur), That subdivision 1 of section 9 of article 1 of the constitution be amended to read as follows: 1. No law shall be passed abridging the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government, or any department thereof; nor shall any divorce be granted otherwise than by due judicial proceedings; except as hereinafter provided, no lottery or the sale of lottery tickets, pool‐selling, bookmaking, or any other kind of gambling, except lotteries operated by the state and the sale of lottery tickets in connection therewith as may be authorized and prescribed by the legislature, the net proceeds of which shall be applied exclusively to or in aid or support of education in this state as the legislature may prescribe, [and] except pari‐mutuel betting on horse races as may be prescribed by the legislature and from which the state shall derive a reasonable revenue for the support of government, and except casino gambling at no more than seven facilities as authorized and prescribed by the legislature shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state; and the legislature shall pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provisions of this section.
§ 2. Resolved (if the Senate concur), That the foregoing amendment be submitted to the people for approval at the general election to be held in the year 2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election law.
Since the announcement of the proposed gambling increase many groups have been vocal about their support for the amendment. According to crainsnewyork.com the “Vernon Downs Proposition #1 Committee”, the “Citizens For NYS Gambling Inc”, and a new group associated with Tioga Downs Casino are all groups that have praised their approval of the legislation.
“This areas really needs the legislation, and we’ve been actively working on different steps to get it through,” said Marc Baez, treasurer of the “Citizens For NYS Gambling Inc.”
Another group making headlines in their support of the proposed amendment is the Business Council of New York State. The council has formed the “New York Jobs Now Committee” in an effort to help push the legislation through.
It is unknown how much money each group intends on spending in support of the amendment.
There is one group against the gambling proposal in NYS.
According to the New York Times “The Coalition Against Gambling in New York” has no office, no paid staff and basically no money. Its Web site features a Goya print and a graphic depicting something called the “Iceberg of Misery.”
The group’s spokesman is a “recovering technologist” and an avid bowhunter with barely enough backing to make it to debates.” They are against because a lot of money is being spent gambling
According to the New York Times expanded gambling spent more than $90 million a year after proponents and opponents.
As is stands now there are 18 casinos in New York State, 10 of them located in the western part of the state. If the legislation should pass the Catskills stand a good chance at becoming the location for one or more of the new casinos.