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Voters Say Yes To Gambling Expansion In New York

The battle in New York to bring additional casinos to the most popular destination in the world came to a head on Tuesday. Voters, who had previously declined advances to expand gambling, overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to expand gambling.

The vote served as a major victory for Governor Andrew Cuomo. The democratic leader has been pushing his gambling expansion agenda for several years, and only recently have lawmakers started to come around to the idea.

As New York continues to rebound from the economic recession of 2008, Cuomo has suggested casinos as a way to bring new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state. Voters agreed to the tune of 58% that voted in favor of the gaming amendment Tuesday.

"It shows just how far the US has come in terms of gambling acceptance," said analyst Gary Travors. "New York is representative of much of the US with its diversity, and the fact that residents of New York have strongly voted to bring new casinos to the state, exemplifies the way of thinking across the country of late."

Dozens of states have expanded their gaming industry, but only recently have some of the bigger states become involved. New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, and Florida have all given the go-ahead to new gaming options over the past decade. Pennsylvania has gone from completely against gaming, to the second most lucrative casino market in the US, behind only Nevada.

While voters of New York approved possibly seven new casinos, the Legislature has been a bit more reserved. Lawmakers have approved a Cuomo plan for gaming expansion, but only for an initial four new casinos, all of which will be located upstate. It may take several years before Cuomo and fellow pro-gaming lawmakers convince their peers to add another three casinos.

Opponents of the expansion point to New Jersey and a struggling Atlantic City gaming industry as a reason to keep casinos out. Cuomo, however, has convinced New Yorkers that the positives of adding jobs and revenue outweigh the possible negative aspects that new casinos would bring.

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