City voters express skepticism and support for New York casino referendum

casino referendum
On Election Day, voters were divided, expressing both skepticism and support for New York’s casino referendum.
Credit: Getty Images

The most controversial ballot proposal — number one — would allow up to seven casinos in New York, though gambling ultimately remains illegal statewide.

On Election Day, voters were divided, expressing both skepticism and support for the referendum.

Tax revenue from the casinos, up to four upstate right away, would be used to bolster education aid or lower property taxes for cities and towns statewide. New York City has been promised over $94 billion in tax revenue for schools.

Both major-party mayoral candidates said they supported the proposal during the campaign, but some voters aren’t so sure.

“I don’t think allowing casinos to flourish here is going to bring the income they’re promising,” said Andrea Ciannavei, a 38-year-old Harlem resident who voted for Bill de Blasio. She voted “no.”

James Smith, also a de Blasio voter, agreed.

“I don’t think we need to be gambling and it seems like the funds won’t trickle down to the city,” the 62-year-old house painter said. He also voted “no.”

Andrew Ketler, who voted for Republican Joe Lhota said he voted “yes” on the referendum.

“It will create jobs, create revenue,” said a 33-year-old owner of a packaging company. “People who have jobs are going to be able to spend money on other things, like at my business.”

Another de Blasio supporter, Marvin Simmons, agreed with Ketler.

“Yes to casinos,” said the 58-year-old janitor. “More casinos, more jobs, more revenue.”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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