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Voters say 'yes' to the expansion of gambling in New York

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Published November 6, 2013 through April Gardner

The battle in New York to bring additional casinos to the world's most popular destination ended on Tuesday. Voters who previously rejected progress in gambling development overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to expand gambling.

The vote was a great victory for Governor Andrew Cuomo. The democratic leader has been pushing his gambling expansion agenda for several years, and only recently lawmakers have started to get the idea.

As New York City continues to bounce back from the 2008 economic recession, Cuomo suggested casinos as a way to provide new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state. Voters agreed to the 58% tune, who voted in favor of the gaming amendment on Tuesday.

"This shows how far the United States has come in terms of gambling acceptance," said analyst Gary Travors. "New York City is representative of most of the United States due to its diversity, and the fact that New Yorkers voted strongly to bring new casinos into the state is an example of the mindset across the country recently."

Dozens of states have expanded their game industries, but only recently have some larger ones become involved. New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, California and Florida have given the green light to new gaming options over the past decade. Pennsylvania has gone from being an absolute anti-gambling player to the second most lucrative US casino market behind Nevada.

While New York voters likely approved seven new casinos, the legislature was a bit more reserved. Lawmakers approved Cuomo's game expansion plan, but only for the first four new casinos, all of which will be located in the North of the state. It may be several years before Cuomo and other pro-gambling lawmakers convince their peers to add three more casinos.

Opponents of the expansion point to New Jersey and Atlantic City's struggling gambling industry as reasons to keep casinos out of the way. But Cuomo convinced New Yorkers that the benefits of adding jobs and income outweigh the possible negative aspects that new casinos would bring.

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