Racino lobby gives thousands to area state legislators

By Lombardo David
Friday, July 13, 2012

The lobbying arm of the state's nine racinos received almost $20,000 from the Saratoga Casino & Raceway and dolled out thousands to local legislators in the last six months, according to information filed with the New York State Board of Elections.

The New York Gaming Association, which advocates for the state's racinos to become sites for casinos, spent $231,320.50 in the last six months, raked in $266,728.50 in contributions and ended the July reporting period with $56,612 in the bank. All off the money being funneled in came from racino operators, including $19,047.50 from the Saratoga racino.

The group's expenditures crossed party lines and geographic boundaries, with incumbency being the one common factor among recipients of its money.

The big local recipient of the NY Gaming Association's spending was Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, who is running for the state Senate in the newly created 46th Senate District. He received a total of $2,500, with $500 coming in March before he announced his candidacy and the remaining funds coming in two equal increments after he announced his intentions.

The next big winners were state Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, and Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, with both receiving $1,000. Other local recipients included Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, at $500, Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, with $350 and assemblymen Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, and Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, each getting $250.

Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, who represents Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga racino, but whose district will not include the area in 2013, didn't receive any money from the Gaming Association.

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