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Legalized casino gambling: A good bet for New York?

The Prevention Center’s program coordinator for youth development, Colby Sutter, examines the network’s mission statement.  Sutter works on the behalf of youth to prevent addictions, including gambling. He’s opposed to the governor’s proposed expansion of casino gambling in New York state.

The Prevention Center’s program coordinator for youth development, Colby Sutter, examines the network’s mission statement. Sutter works on the behalf of youth to prevent addictions, including gambling. He’s opposed to the governor’s proposed expansion of casino gambling in New York state. Matt Liptak

Opening New York up to private enterprise casino gambling seems like a safe bet for injecting some badly needed cash into the state’s economy, according to some lawmakers. But other sources suggest that the change may only provide a quick windfall for the state.

And it could also leave serious social problems in its wake.

The idea for non-Indian reservation casino gambling got a breath of new life with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 State of the State” address. He considered the potential casinos to be an “economic engine” and said New York was already inundated with gambling of other forms such as racinos and the lottery.

Adding casinos to the mix would only keep those going out of state for casino gambling inside the state along with potentially $1 billion in revenue.

State Senator John A. Defrancisco (R—Syracuse) agrees with Cuomo.

“We already have gambling in the state of New York,” he said. “We have gambling at the Indian casinos. We have lotto games of every shape, manner and form. We have video lotteries in restaurants. We have bingos. I guess what he’s saying and, quite frankly, I believe, is that if you’ve got casino gambling already going on in the state that it makes sense that private enterprise should be able to enter into that market if they chose to.”

There are those in Syracuse who disagree with the Senator’s position. Colby Sutter is the Prevention Network’s program coordinator for youth development at 906 Spencer St. in the city. He works to help youth who are confronting their gambling addiction.

“I don’t like that theory, morally,” he said. “My mom used to say ‘if all your friends are jumping off a bridge would you jump off a bridge?’ Not completely out of context, but drug dealers are making a lot of money selling illegal [drugs]. To me does that mean that mean we should start selling illegal drugs for the state?”

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