Updated: 10/28/2013 11:12 PM
Created: 10/28/2013 11:01 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
A week from Tuesday you'll be heading to the polls to cast your vote in several races around the area. In addition to that, you'll also be saying yes or no to adding casinos in New York State.
Proposition One calls for allowing casinos that are not run by Indian Nations to be built in New York.
News10NBC went to a community forum Monday night where people discussed the pros and cons of this.
Gambling isn't new for the Empire State, but News10NBC found out some people have a lot of questions about it and its impact on communities.
People came out to Asbury First United Methodist Church to hear more about Proposition One and to hear the pros and the cons of casinos.
David Blankenhorn is President of the Institute for American Policy in New York City. He spoke passionately against approving Proposition One. Blankenhorn says casinos don't help communities because they don't produce anything, they only take your money. He says there is no proof a casino contributes to economic growth.
Jim Bertalone, who heads the Rochester AFL-CIO, had a different opinion. He says casinos bring in jobs and revenue. He
estimates if a casino were to come here it could produce as many as 10,000 construction and permanent jobs and he says it could bring in $15-million a year to the county.
But Minister Raymond Scott, who spent 24 years counseling compulsive gamblers, says he hoped to hear more about the impact on people. He says 75-percent of the gamblers he counseled had either contemplated or tried to commit suicide.
“They're not talking about that in there. Everybody's talking about the economic impact. I'm talking about the human impact. Those people had families and nobody's talking about that,” said Scott.
“If it will create jobs for our citizens and if these jobs will have a positive meaning for them financially, or is this going to be going in a different route,” said Maria Paris, city resident.
“You also have casinos that bring entertainment, maybe a little cheaper than going to Geva, and they bring bigger names, and yes, maybe there is some downside to it. They feed you whatever it is to keep you in the game, but I think that's up to the individual himself,” said Joseph Catalli, city resident.
Monroe County would benefit, although none of the state casinos would be built here. The state would distribute the
casino revenues evenly across the state.
It's estimated New Yorkers travel to surrounding states which have casinos and spend $1-billion a year.
So where does the state plan to build these casinos if voters approve Proposition One? The state has identified three areas, the Catskill Region, the Capitol Region and a location in the Southern Tier. That is in addition to nine racinos and five Indian casinos now in New York State.