Gambling interests in New York doled out $3.2 million since 2011 to political campaigns, a report today from Common Cause/NY found.
The good-government group knocked the spending in advance of a referendum Nov. 5 to legalize up to seven private casinos in New York. The group released a report last year that showed gambling and horse racing groups spent $40 million on lobbying and about $7 million in campaign contributions over since 2005.
“New York’s lax campaign finance laws make it possible for high rollers, like the gambling industry, to dictate public policy,” said the group’s executive director Susan Lerner. “The problem is that the rules of the game are stacked against average voters and the house always wins. We need campaign finance reform now to ensure that politicians are accountable to the people, not the highest pay-out.”
The group said the most money went to the three most powerful entities in New York. The Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee gave $414,750, the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee received $403,750, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo received $361,500.
Others that received major contributions are the heads of the legislative racing committees: Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, Orange County, received $84,836, and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, D-Yonkers, received $64,659.
The top contributor was the New York Gaming Association, which is the lobbying group for the state’s nine racetracks, and gave $543,051. Second was the Seneca Nation of Indians, which contributed $525,650, Common Cause said.