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Candidates For Nassau County Exec. Urging Voters To Approve Casino Gambling In NY State

Meanwhile, Casino Foes Smash Slot Machine In Protest

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Political foes came together on Long Island Tuesday in a push to allow casino gambling in New York state.

Meanwhile, opponents of casino gambling gathered outside the state Capitol in Albany Tuesday and smashed slot machines with sledgehammers, much like New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia did in 1934.

On the pro side, Thomas Suozzi and incumbent Ed Mangano, both candidates for Nassau County executive, are expected to join labor unions and business groups in support of the ballot referendum called Proposal No. 1.

The proposal is asking voters to approve a change to the constitution that will allow development of as many as seven casinos. The first four would be upstate, including in the Catskills.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Supporters of the referendum say allowing casino gambling in New York would create 10,000 jobs and rake in more than $1 billion for local and state governments and schools.

“Upstate gaming will have a downstate net positive result,” Mangano said.

“We urge people to vote yes,” added Suozzi, appearing together with Mangano. “It will be good for the state. It will be good for Long Island.”

The Republican Mangano and the Democrat Suozzi are in a heated race. But they both said the casinos would send more than $63 million a year to Long Island to improve schools, help fund critical services and relieve property tax pressure.

“It’s time to let our people play here and bring our money home where it belongs,” said John Durso of the Long Island Federation of Labor.

The supporters said the casino plan would rake in $430 million to help lower taxes, including $27 million alone to Long Island schools

Many called it a win-win.

“It’ll bring in badly-needed tax revenue,” one area residents said. “It’s going upstate, which is an economic disaster that needs help.”

But opponents were equally strong in their points of view.

“It will increase traffic. It increases, potentially, drinking and driving,” a woman said.

The nonprofit think tank Institute for American Values, the Coalition Against Gambling in New York and other groups released several studies Tuesday. They say the data shows casinos are a bad gamble for New Yorkers, especially for the poorest residents.

The opponents who smashed the slot machines in Albany said casinos increase gambling addiction and crime.

The nonprofit think tank Institute for American Values, the Coalition Against Gambling in New York and other groups released several studies Tuesday. They say the data shows casinos are a bad gamble for New Yorkers, especially for the poorest residents.

“People do gamble, but by putting it in their backyard they do it more frequently,” said Paul Davies of the Institute for American Values.

Regardless of whether the referendum passes or fails, Long Island is getting video slot machines. The question is where to put them.

Residents of Plainview were not eager to hear the odds-on favorite site is their town on the border of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“They’re paying a lot of taxes, and they have a right to a voice, and that voice is a very loud ‘no’ right now,” said Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Plainview.)

If the referendum fails, the law allows for an additional slot machine parlor on Long Island. If it passes, some wonder if the next Las Vegas-style casino could be on Long Island, as the referendum does not rule out downstate.

Neither candidate for Nassau County executive supports a full-fledged casino on Long Island.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature say the state will dedicate $500 per machine to continue to combat problem gambling.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)