Analysis shows government officials received millions from gambling interest groups

Posted at: 10/13/2013 6:53 PM
Updated at: 10/14/2013 12:05 AM
By: Joangel Concepcion

A referendum News10NBC told you about back in August seemed to put a positive spin on allowing casino gaming in New York State.

The referendum says approving casinos in the state would lower taxes, provide more money for schools and create more jobs.

It all sounds good right?

But what if News10NBC told you political committees and even our own governor were receiving millions of dollars in contributions from gambling interest groups?

Many say that money may have an impact on lawmakers and it may work against voters who don't want casinos in their neighborhood.

This analysis is coming from Common Cause New York. It's a non-profit that's dedicated to keeping elected officials accountable.

They claim that since 2011 gambling interest groups have paid out more than $3.2 million dollars to politicians and committees. The report shows several government officials took contributions.

A lot of money went to the New York State Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. It has received almost $415,000. The Senate Republican Campaign Committee received $404,000, Governor Cuomo received $361,000, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee received $82,000 and the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee has received $61,000.

The big question, is this money going to have an impact on lawmakers? Many say yes.

Those who think casinos will not benefit New York State say the contributions are unfair. Many believe the casinos will only create an increase in problematic gambling and crime.

Even lawmakers believe other state officials will be impacted by the contributions.

"I'm for real campaign finance reform. I think we need some changes on the state and federal level. I voted against the casino gambling amendment and I don't believe those are the kind of jobs we need. I think we need manufacturing and production jobs, the kind of jobs we lost over 20 years ago," said Mark Johns, New York State Assembly, 135th District.

News10NBC wanted to know how you felt about this and asked you the following questions on Facebook:

Would you want casino in your neighborhood? Do you think political contributions work against average voters?

News10NBC got mixed reviews.

Erica Pearson Robinson posted, "Statistics show that casinos increase bankruptcy rates as well as rates of alcoholism and drug use in the surrounding area. With that, I would definitely be opposed to a local casino."

Another comment came from Raymond and Kathy Richardson who said, "It would certainly open the job market, as well as add to the local tax base, so long as pilot funding isn't approved before the casino opens."

Tom Shevlin posted, "If you build it, they will come."

The big day is November 5. That's when New Yorkers will vote whether or not to approve casino style gambling.