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Poll: 37% Likely to Frequent New NY 'Local' Casinos


How likely are you to visit one of those new casinos when they open for business in New York?

When a new casino comes to town, aside from going there to gamble, would you have dinner there? Attend a concert? Stay in the hotel? Bring a guest? Play golf?  The Time Warner Cable News/Siena College Poll says more than a third of residents would.   Pollster Don Levy:     "37 percent told us in these three regions in which we anticipate new casino development, that they would be at least somewhat likely to frequent the casinos. A little bit of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' is is a third or slightly more than a third a lot or a little? I think that that actually is a pretty significant number. We also asked people have you gone to a casino anyplace in the last year, and slightly fewer, 32 percent, said that they had been to a casino.”

Levy says some numbers stand out even higher.    "64 percent said that they would be likely to attend a concert. Over half, 55 percent said that they'd be inclined to go out to dinner at a new casino development. And 1 out of 5, 22 percent, said that if they build a golf course I'd like to go over there and use it."

When it comes to jobs, always a hot-button topic,  26 percent overall said they expected either themselves or a member of their household to apply for a job at one of the resorts. That's 1 in 4 households.   "That number strikes me as pretty high. 35 percent of those that are 18 to 35 years old, said that yes, I  or somebody in my household is very likely to apply for a job at a casino in my region.  Whether beneath the surface on job creation they believe that's because there are gonna be new gas stations - that's because there's gonna be new gift shops - there is certainly a hope that this will be a meaningful engine of economic development."

Boosters have touted jobs as a major upside of casino development, but critics have warned that it can be difficult for locals to get those jobs in challenged areas that see casinos as a road to economic recovery.

19 percent of those polled would gamble more if they lived near a casino.   Cara Benson is with anti-casino group Save East Greenbush, which opposes the Rensselaer County project.    "Developers are promising all sorts of cash and prizes (laughs) - but in the end, the house wins, and I think the public knows that."

53 percent of survey respondents say local and state governments are not sharing enough information about the development process.  Benson warns there are hidden costs to communities hosting casinos.    "The casino might be promising, I think right now, they're saying $5.7 million in tax revenue to a municipality and the same thing to the county, it actually costs the region 10-20-30-40-50 million dollars in added infrastructure costs. So while it gives on the one had, it takes triple with the other hand."

Those figures were provided by casino researcher Robert Goodman, who addressed a Save East Greenbush meeting Tuesday night.   Benson says the group will press on with its grassroots efforts to stop the casino dead in its tracks.    "Door to door, word of mouth, we've been tabling and getting petition signatures at farmer's markets, at libraries, we're up to 2,500 petition signatures and our goal over the course of the summer is to hit 3000 to be able to present them at the public hearing in September."

Meanwhile, Siena's Don Levy promises more interesting poll results - the survey is being released on a staggered basis.  It was conducted July 20 - 23 by telephone calls to 816 registered voters from the three upstate New York regions of the Capital Region, the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region and the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region.

The first segment of the Time Warner Cable News-Siena Poll asked New Yorkers what they think about casino gaming in New York State. - See more at: http://wamc.org/post/survey-supports-upstate-casino-development

It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points for the composite overall area and margins of error for the individual regions of +/-  5.9 Capital Region, +/-  5.9 Catskills/Hudson and +/-  6.0 Southern Tier/Finger Lakes.  Data was statistically adjusted by age, gender and party to ensure representativeness.   The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in New York State.  SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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