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Pro-casino group spent $4.2 million to boost amendment

By Tom Precious

ALBANY –- A group of gambling and union interests spent $4.2 million in a one-month period to push through a constitutional amendment authorizing up to seven new casinos in New York, new disclosure reports out this afternoon show.

New York Jobs Now, run out of the Business Council of New York state offices in Albany with advice from the Cuomo administration, spent $1.7 million in the final couple weeks before the Nov. 5 election on a television ad campaign aimed heavily at downstate voters.

The referendum passed 57 percent to 43 percent. Major donors included $750,000 from Genting New York, the Malaysian-based gambling company that runs a casino at Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, and $270,000 from a harness track/casino in Yonkers. Caesars Entertainment gave $100,000, and Bally Gaming donated $25,000. Unions also were major bankrollers of New York Jobs Now, which received $270,000 from a hotel workers’ union and $250,000 from a New York City-based teachers union.

Besides a last-minute round of television advertising, New York Jobs Now spent $595,000 on polling, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars on mailings and radio ads. It ended its casino expansion bid with $4,197 in the bank as of today’s final post-election filing with the state Board of Elections. In the 27-day post election report filed today, the group reported raising $2.1 million and spending $3.85 million. In its previous filing 11 days before the election, the group had reported raising $2 million and spending $361,000.

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Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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