YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo may just be ready to become a "gamblin' man."
Cuomo has dropped his poker face and is actively considering legalizing casino gambling.
"The gaming issue is an issue that this state has to come to grips with," Cuomo told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer on Wednesday.
Right now in New York you can play slot machines at racinos and gamble on Indian reservations, but what the governor has done is hire an assistant to look at the possibility of allowing companies to build casinos with table games like blackjack, roulette and dice games in areas where there are no Indian reservations.
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"You have gaming in this state and, by the way, you have gaming in neighboring states so it's really not an issue any more of if we don't officially sanction it as a government it's not going to happen. It is happening," Cuomo said.
Tim Rooney Jr., of Empire City Casino said in these tough economic times it makes economic sense for New York to legalize casino gambling.
"It's estimated that 2 billion of New York dollars are exported every year out of state to places like Atlantic City and Las Vegas. We think if you had full casino gambling in New York that we'd not only be able to keep that $2 billion in the state but attract out-of-state dollars as well," Rooney said.
Opponents are horrified.
"The function of state government should be to provide for the health and welfare of the citizens. It seems like now the only purpose of state government is to find ways to raise revenue painlessly for the state so that we don't have to introduce taxes," said Joel Rose of the Coalition Against Gambling In New York.
But it's not just the money -- the expansion of gambling could create thousands of new jobs. This is why the Cuomo administration thinks that legalizing casino table games just might be a better bet than the one-armed bandits.
Depending on how it is done, the expansion of gambling might require a constitutional amendment, which would take several years, and a public referendum before new casinos can be built.
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