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Lawmaker counters Cuomo casino-siting plan

One lawmaker is pushing back against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s casino-siting plan.

Assemb. Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn), the head of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, has proposed a new gambling law that would give local communities power to approve new casinos and boost protections for organized labor.

Notably, Camara would also create a new gaming commission that would feature six gubernatorial appointees and seven legislative appointees. In contrast, a gaming commission launched earlier this year is controlled by Cuomo appointees.

“All communities, particularly those urban communities most in need, deserve assurances that they will benefit and not be hurt from any expanded casino gaming in New York State,” Camara said in a news release. “This legislation ensures that any expansion of gaming will not undermine existing economic development and that communities will be given a vote prior to the siting of a casino.”

His proposal also strikes another difference with Cuomo’s plan to approve three upstate casinos. Camara said his plan “requires geographic diversity and prevents over saturation.”

Cuomo tucked his upstate-casinos-only idea into his state budget proposal. But with the budget expected to be adopted in two weeks, many lawmakers expect the casino issue to be removed from fiscal talks and taken up later in the 2013 session.

Previously, top legislative leaders have said New York City and Long Island should be in the casino discussion. A group with backing from the Oneida Nation — which has a lucrative casino near Utica — also is backing a "local approval" of casinos drive.

Tags: Andrew Cuomo , casinos

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