Coalition pushing back on casino in Rochester

Updated: 05/01/2014 5:56 PM
Created: 05/01/2014 5:48 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts

No more casinos is what former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson is calling for. He says the recent proposal to build a new casino in our area is a bad idea. Now, he says he's got the numbers to prove it. 

A coalition fighting against a casino coming to our area is funded in part by the very company that owns two other casinos in western New York. So is the group's main concern eliminating any competition? They say no. 

William Johnson, former Rochester Mayor said, “This is not an anti-gambling diatribe because gambling is here. That's not the point we're making, but the question is do we need more?”

A casino in Rochester is a possibility and former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson is fighting against it. Johnson has been working with the No More Casinos Coalition. He says it all comes down to crime and taxes. A recent study by the coalition shows that both have skyrocketed for the cities of Salamanca and Niagara Falls, where casinos currently sit. Johnson says both cities have seen taxes increase more than 16 percent. Theft related crimes have also gone up. But the catch is the coalition is funded in large part by the same company that runs those other casinos.

Johnson said, “If they employ together almost 2,000 people and a new casino comes in, which will be much more lavish, much more spectacular, and therefore will have a greater opportunity to appeal to people. Where are people going to go?”

So is it all about cutting out the competition? Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini says absolutely. 

Mark Assini, Gates Town Supervisor, said, “It's absolutely about the competition. The two casinos do not want to lose out to a casino in Monroe County. As far as the town of Gates, I supported casino because my residents support a casino for this reason, number one, and most importantly, jobs.”

If a casino does come to the city, it would likely be in the Henrietta area. As far as jobs, a casino could employ upwards of 1,000. 

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