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Casino interest groups place bets in NYS

Rochester, N.Y. - New York State lawmakers are being accused of "stacking the deck" in their favor to expand casinos in upstate New York.

A "watch dog" report says lawmakers have received millions of dollars in funding from casino interest groups ahead of the November 5 referendum.

According to the Common Cause New York group, industry interests groups have been spending consistently since 2005 to advance gambling in Upstate New York.

Data shows over the last two and a half years in which the legislature voted twice to approve casino style gambling, the industry gave a total of $3.3 million dollars to politicians and political committees.

Between 2011 and July 2013, Governor Cuomoss campaign was one of the top ten political committees that received contributions.

The governors campaign received $361,500.

If you really want to find out what happens in upstate New York, follow the money. They should not be taking money from interest like this and then promoting those interests, said Carl Dellefave.

Dellefave has struggled with a gambling addiction and is among many critics of casino expansion.

Contribution funding is also the focus of many critics who say interest groups are trying to buy a vote and that the language in the referendum is too pro-casino.

Lt. Governor Bob Duffy admits that money does play a role in politics, something he says should change.

He also says regardless of how much money is contributed, voters will decide.

People try to influence outcomes, federally, statewide and locally that's the system, I know there's a lot of work to try to change that system, I concur with changing it because the money should not determine what's best for the people of the state or any community, Duffy said.

The referendum is the center of a lawsuit by a Brooklyn lawyer who argues that state law prohibits the use of public money to influence voters.

 
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