Should an amendment be made to the state constitution to bring state-run casinos into New York? That was the topic of a forum at Asbury First United Methodist Church on Monday night.
"We are competing for entertainment and tourist dollars with our neighbors," said Rochester and Genesee Valley Labor Federation president Jim Bertolone.
Bertolone says one in 12 people in New York have a career in tourism, a career field he wants to grow.
"We already have them. Every state surrounding us has them. That also tends to be today where the entertainers go, where the music goes," said Bertolone.
Bertolone says casinos would help New York's economy and bring 10,000 jobs in construction alone.
David Blankenhorn has a very different opinion on this matter.
"Because it doesn't produce any goods or services right. Casinos don't make anything. Casinos are kind of an sterile economic transfer. You lose money, I win money. Nothing gets created that contributes to economic growth," said David Blankenhorn, president, Institute for American Values.
Blankenhorn used Atlantic City as an example of a place filled with casinos and poverty.
"You see a bunch of casinos surrounded by pawn shops and really high poverty neighborhoods. That's 20 years of casinos," said Blankenhorn.
"Atlantic City, like Rochester, has been deindustrialized, jobs have been moved offshore and erased to the bottom and we have no casino gambling in Rochester. Our child poverty rate and our poverty rate is much higher than 20 years ago so I cant say what's going on in Atlantic City has to do with casino gambling," said Bertolone.
Many residents said whether they were for or against Proposition One, they found the forum interesting but it did not change their mind on the matter.
"I think it's good for people if they want to gamble for recreation purposes and enjoyment, and there is a lot of gamblers in the Rochester area. I think they should be able to gamble here if they want," said East Rochester resident Richard Bird.
"We have people in the population that cannot handle things like this and there is really no way to protect them from it other than to have it at all and I personally don't see that this is a loss," said Rochester resident Chris Pyror.
Among all issues addressed at the forum, gambling addiction was something many residents wanted to see addressed more. They said many discussions are focused more on numbers than on people.