Who's deal would casino sites be?

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A group with backing from the Oneida Nation,

A group with backing from the Oneida Nation, which owns upstate Turning Stone casino, is pushing local decisions on the location of casinos across New York State. Photo Credit: Pat Orr, 2009

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Where casinos may go if they’re legalized by state referendum is a multi-billion-dollar question. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants an independent commission to site three casinos, all upstate, while legislators have their own varying agendas.

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While the Albany discussion goes on, a group called New Yorkers for Local Approval of Casinos has been signing up businesses, elected officials, and individuals to support what it calls the necessity of local communities deciding for themselves whether to host casinos. The group began with backing from the Oneida Nation, which owns Turning Stone casino on tribal land outside Syracuse.

“Local approval is the only effective protection neighborhoods will have in these huge development projects,” said Michael Tobman, a political consultant, former aide to  Sen. Charles Schumer, and one-time Nassau legislative chief of staff who’s coordinating the drive. Nassau and Suffolk signers include 69 businesses, five county legislators and several individuals, a list of which can be found here.

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