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ALBANY -  Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz is among the first three appointments to the state’s commission that will approve four upstate casinos.

The state Gaming Commission announced the appointments Thursday. Also appointed are Paul Francis, a former top aide to Govs. Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson and Andrew M. Cuomo; and former New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., who unsuccessfully ran for mayor.

The commission will have five members. They will not be paid.

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The Gaming Facility Location Board will evaluate casino applications and select which companies are eligible to apply for commercial casino licenses.

The board was created as a body independent of influence by politics.  It will choose upstate locations for four Las Vegas-style casinos off Native American land. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's casino plan was approved by voters in a November referendum which amended the state constitution.

 “President Rabinowitz has long been a strong advocate for community interests in proposed casino siting plans, and he brings a valuable perspective to the board,” said Mark Gearan, chairman-designate of the Gaming Commission.

Casinos will be approved in the Catskills and Hudson Valley region, the eastern Southern Tier and the Albany area.