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November 6, 2013
It looks like expanded gambling is headed to New York. Proposition 1, legalizing up to seven casinos, passed with 57% of the vote. The only proposition to fail was number 6, which would have increased the retirement age for some state judges.
The success of proposition number one and the failure of number 6 are both wins for Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo championed the bill to allow seven resort style gambling casinos in New York. Cuomo stayed in the background during the election season, recording just one robo call in the final days. A highly disciplined coalition of business and labor groups, all allies of the governor, ran a campaign that focused not on casinos or gambling, but the jobs they could create, the additional money for schools, and possible property tax reduction.
Even the actual ballot amendment language, which Cuomo is said to have influenced, mentioned the potential jobs and tax cuts and did not even use the word “casinos”.
In a statement, Cuomo said approval of the gambling expansion “is a big win for local governments, school districts, and taxpayers across New York State." Cuomo also said he expects the casinos will create construction jobs and boost tourism revenue.
At least one gambling entity, Foxwoods of Connecticut, says it intends to seek a license to build a “full service destination resort casino” in the Catskills.
The governor stayed out of the campaign for the ballot amendment to let some state judges remain on the bench until the age of 80, though he did say there were some “questions” about it.
Because the retirement age for judges will remain at 70, several judges on the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, will now have to leave in the next few years. Others reach the end of their 14 year terms. That means Cuomo, if he wins re-election in 2014, would appoint all of the seven judges on the state’s highest court.