You should know that when Senate Bill 5898, supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo and sponsored by Senator Bonacic, came to the Floor of the Senate to propose an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize casino
gambling in New York State, I voted NO.
When this vote came to the floor of the Senate on June 21, 2013, I was proud that seven of my colleagues: Senator Espaillat, Senator Hoylman, Senator Krueger, Senator LaValle, Senator Parker, Senator Perkins, and Senator Sanders all joined me and voted against this bill.
You should know that the bill passed, and on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, Proposal 1 will be on the ballot for voters in New York State to decide if they want to legalize and expand casino gambling in New York.
I still do not support this measure that Governor Andrew Cuomo has been pushing hard to pass, and I will continue to publicly and ardently disagree with Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make this amendment to legalize casino gambling part of the State Constitution.
You should know that the purpose of putting Proposal 1 on the ballot and passing a Constitutional Amendment to allow for more casinos to open New York State is to bring more revenue to the State. The Governor believes that more casinos in New York State will open the coffers so that money will flow and help tourism, revenue and jobs.
The reason why I voted NO to legislation to legalize casino gambling – in a State where poverty levels continue to increase – is because gambling revenues will not draw from expendable income. Gambling revenues will draw from families’ necessities. Instead of helping the many New Yorkers who already suffer from gambling addiction, this amendment will only continue to destroy their worlds and further exploit vulnerable and poor New Yorkers and their families.
As a minister and a community leader, I have seen many good people get hooked on gambling – even senior citizens. I have seen it become an addiction, like drugs. I have seen families dispossessed from their homes. I have seen gambling destroy many lives.
You should also know that by legalizing casino gambling, gambling addiction will increase and more and more families and children will suffer. Rent will not get paid. Food will not be on the tables. People will suffer.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have opposed legislation to expand casino gambling in New York State, and I will continue to oppose it.
This is Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.