There are six propositions on the ballot for Tuesday's election, but only one generating statewide debate.
That, of course, is the proposition to expand casino gaming to possibly seven new sites in New York state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports expanding the gambling industry as a way to create jobs upstate and provide the additional $1 billion in revenue he needs to pay for tax cuts and schools and says building the new casinos will allow New York to compete as a gambling destination with Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont and Canada. New York already has five Indian-run casinos and electronic gambling at nine racetracks, though none offer "games of skill" - live table games that are now illegal.
Those who oppose expansion of casino gaming point to increases in crime and problem gambling in areas near existing casinos as well as the heavy costs to build the infrastructure necessary. It can't be denied casinos typically prey upon those who can least afford to gamble with their money, a situation that leads to problems that don't necessarily have a monetary cost but which definitely come at a cost to our society.
We also don't believe recent history has shown casino gambling generates the spin-off development which proponents of casino gambling believe will happen if this proposition is passed. Salamanca has seen some additional jobs from its Seneca Allegany Casino, but not much else since the casino opened. On the flip side, some of the concerns about expanding casino gaming are a bit overblown. Salamanca has seen an increase in crime since the casino opened, but the same can be said of countless cities statewide that aren't home to a casino.
The utter mixed bag that is casino gaming is why we are lukewarm on the proposal. It is an admitted money grab made palatable only because state residents have grabbed the money before in allowing Native American casinos.
What's your opinion?
Agree or disagree with our endorsement? You are welcome to tell us why through our People's column. Letters regarding the Nov. 5 election are being accepted through Thursday at 5 p.m. The final day election letters will be published is Sunday.