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Queens Chronicle

Padavan Is Against Sports Betting Proposal In State

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Posted: Thursday, December 16, 2004 12:00 am

Taxes are steadily increasing, New York City residents are fed up, so what’s the city trying to do? According to one New York City group, all options are being considered.

The latest effort to avoid raising taxes comes from Kathryn Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City, and Councilman Tony Avella of Bayside. The two have collaborated on a legislative proposal to legalize sports betting in the New York area in an effort to provide additional funding resources, specifically for education.

“What the partnership is trying to do is think about all possibilities for raising funds other than raising taxes,” Wylde said.

According to her, there is a state constitutional requirement governing all facets of legal gambling that portions of the proceeds must go toward educational subsidies, such as the New York State Lottery.

Video lottery terminals, also referred to as electronic slot machines, started to operate at the Saratoga Raceway, Finger Lakes Races and at several Indian-owned casinos in an effort to increase revenue, a plan that was advanced by Governor George Pataki and Senate leader Joseph Bruno. In July, a court ruled that if profits from the machines are used for any purpose other than education, it is unconstitutional.

Councilman Avella is for legalizing sports betting because in his view, it’s, “taking a bite out of crime and providing funding for education at the same time.”He believes that organized crime gets most of its revenue from illegal sports betting, therefore, by legalizing it, crime would lessen.

State Senator Frank Padavan of Bellerose strongly disagrees with the gambling idea and insists that New York state has too many compulsive gamblers and legalizing sports betting would just be a bad idea. He told the Queens Chronicle he will oppose legalizing sports betting every time it comes to him.

“I will do everything I can to see it doesn’t happen, otherwise it would make a terrible situation even worse.”

Padavan believes the proposal would increase problems for New York State residents such as divorce, bankruptcy, domestic abuse, prostitution, fraud, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and suicide.

If sports betting became legal, “the temptation for rigging bets and fixing sporting events would increase,” he noted, adding that if people followed the idea that criminals are already making the revenue and the government needs the money, then legalizing prostitution is not too far-fetched.

The senator called legalizing sports betting “morally wrong and economically it’s not too sound.”

Representatives from the National Football League and the National Basketball Association are also urging state legislatures to oppose the measure.

Welcome to the discussion.