The casino gambling amendment on this year's ballot is getting some more vocal supporters with a new coalition coming together to encourage people to vote yes. Their effort also got some help from the state with a new estimate of how much revenue new casinos would generate. But there are pockets of opposition as well. Zack Fink has more.
NEW YORK STATE -- The state legislature has already approved casino gambling, but a large hurdle remains: Getting approval from the voters. But polls are showing lukewarm support and up until now, there hasn't been much of a public relations campaign to get it passed.
State Senator Diane Savino said, "I am a little perplexed by the campaign that has really been non-existent around this amendment. We are only a few weeks away from this amendment."
That's about to change. Under the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is counting on this casino amendment to spur economic development upstate, a new group called New York Jobs Now will begin promoting the referendum. It's a coalition of business and labor groups with a vested economic interest in seeing it approved.
Stu Loeser of NY Jobs Now said, "The case is pretty clear. There are in New York City, it's almost $100 million for schools and yet no casinos in New York City or around New York City."
The Cuomo Administration did help craft the language of the amendment, which touts the economic benefits of legalized gambling and none of the potential drawbacks. Ballot language is usually more neutral on how issues are presented.
And just this week, the administration estimated that the state will generate $430 million in annual revenue, $95 million of which would go to New York City.
Some groups have already weighed in, including the state's Catholic bishops who urged caution about the economic benefits.
In a statement, the Catholic Conference said, "it does seem apparent that with all of the gambling options already available here, there is only so much revenue to be gained."
State Senator Liz Krueger said, "I think it is important, whoever is raising the issue, to question the underlying assumption that gambling is an economic win. The fact is there are winners and there are losers."
The biggest impediment to this referendum passing is not necessarily opposition, but apathy. Supporters agree that not much has been done so far to educate voters on the economic benefits.