The gambling industry over the past two years dropped $19.7 million on lobbying and political contributions in New York, a report today by Common Cause/NY said.
The report comes as lawmakers today are set to pass legislation to approve up to seven casinos in New York. The group said the big bucks by gambling interests is another reason for campaign-finance reform — which isn’t happening this year.
“As lawmakers continue to be led away in handcuffs and voters’ faith in government plummets, the good news is New Yorkers will now be able to gamble away their cares at four new upstate casinos,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause.
The New York Gaming Association, the lobbying arm for the state’s nine racinos, spent the most: $3.6 million, followed by $3.3 million by Genting New York, which owns Aqueduct Race Track.
Other spending included: The Seneca Nation of Indians ($1.4 million), Yonkers Raceway ($955,000), Delaware North, which owns Finger Lakes race track, ($927,000), Empire Resorts Inc. ($745,000), American Racing & Entertainment ($497,000), the Shinnecock Nation ($440,000), Nassau OTB ($423,000), the Oneida Indian Nation ($381,000), and Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. ($328,000).
Campaign contributions went to: the Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($404,000), the NYS Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee ($372,000), Governor Cuomo ($242,000), Attorney General Schneiderman ($84,500), Senate Racing & Wagering Chair John Bonacic ($76,000), and Assembly Racing & Waging Chair J. Gary Pretlow ($59,000).
The top ten lobbyists retained by gambling interests were: Patricia Lynch Associates ($1.46 million), Cordo & Company ($975,000), Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker ($953,000), Meara Avella Dickenson ($805,000), Featherstonhaugh Wiley & Clyne ($787,000), Park Strategies ($649,000), Dan Klores Communications ($643,000), Kasirer Consulting ($470,000), Brian R. Meara Public Relations ($439,000), and Bolton St. Johns ($398,000).