NYPIRG Joins Casino Referendum Opposition

ALBANY (AP) -

A public advocacy group joined a legal fight Thursday against what it calls the one-sided wording of a referendum aimed at persuading voters to approve Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s expansion of casinos.

In a brief for the court, the New York Public Interest Research Group said the final language of the Nov. 5 ballot issue to allow casinos off Indian land should be neutral so that voters can make a decision based on facts, as set out in the state constitution.

Cuomo and legislative leaders added glowing language to the referendum, promising jobs, tax breaks and more school aid, all of which are disputed by some academics and critics. NYPIRG notes that none of the potential drawbacks from casinos, like crime and gambling addiction, is mentioned.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin is to hear arguments Friday. He could also consider Brooklyn lawyer Eric Snyder’s contention that the state used public money to advocate for a “yes” vote, which is prohibited by law, and that the referendum was changed by board members in secret, violating the state Open Meetings Law.

“I think it’s interesting that they would expect me or any other voter to bring an action days before anyone knew about it,” Snyder said. “It sounds like the unreasonable delay is theirs.”