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New York restaurant groups divided on casinos

Two of the largest restaurant and hospitality trade groups—representing nearly 10,000 businesses—are staying out of the competition to build casinos in New York.

Major players including billionaire developers and international gambling companies have hired lobbyists and marketing firms to sway public opinion, influence lawmakers and emerge victorious.

The push to build one of the four regional casino licenses, including one in the Capital Region, has only intensified as the June 30 license application deadline approaches.
But the state Restaurant Association and state Hospitality and Tourism Association remain essentially silent despite the obvious impact these new casinos would have on their respective memberships.

The two associations combined represent nearly 10,000 restaurants, hotels and other tourism-related businesses in New York.

Top trade group officials' reluctance to discuss the issue portrays uncertainty tied to the casino industry, which has been presented as a savior for economically stagnant and/or depressed communities like upstate New York and Detroit.

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