[Diocese of New York] Episcopal Bishop Andrew Dietsche of New York, whose office is on the close of Manhattan’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine and who leads a diocese of over 60,000 members in both urban and rural communities stretching from Staten Island in the south to Callicoon in Sullivan County, has issued the following statement in opposition to New York Proposal 1, whereby NY voters on November 5 will be asked to approve the authorization of up to 7 casinos in the state.
On November 5th, New York voters will be presented with Proposal 1, the New York Casino Gambling Amendment, which would allow the legislature to authorize up to seven new casinos in the state. The stated purposes of this constitutional amendment are to promote job growth, increase funding to schools, and permit local governments to lower property taxes. These are more than reasonable goals, but what is not said is that in places where casino gambling has been introduced, almost all gains have come at the high social cost of addiction and family disintegration, and deepening poverty. Some of these casinos are targeted for regions in New York, including in our diocese, characterized by entrenched poverty. The infusion of such false hopes into communities of economic desperation will, we are convinced, prove ruinous to people and families who will turn to the empty promises of casino gambling. There are no quick fixes to the challenges of struggling cities and towns, and we call on our elected leaders instead to focus on the kind of investment and hard work that build sound, long-term economic health and the self-sufficiency of communities. The Episcopal Church has long opposed casino gambling for all of these reasons, and so we stand in opposition to Proposal 1.