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Report looks at spending by casino gambling interests

Rochester Business Journal
July 7, 2014

Casino gambling interests spent $11 million over two years, including nearly $361,000 from David Flaum and nearly $109,000 from Wilmorite Corp. in Rochester, trying to convince state and local policymakers to approve their bids for licenses for New York’s first four casinos, a report released Monday shows.

Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group was the biggest spender, investing nearly $3.5 million on behalf of two facilities proposed for Orange County and one for Sullivan County in the Catskills, an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group shows.

Empire Resorts, a bidder for one of the Orange County casinos, spent nearly $666,000 in 2012-13, NYPIRG data shows.

Flaum and Flaum Management Co. Inc. spent $211,925 over the two years to lobby for licenses for casinos proposed for Long Island and Rensselaer County, and gave $149,060 to state and local political committees, the data shows.

Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. Corp., a partner with Flaum on the Long Island facility, spent $319,123 on lobbying in 2012-13, NYPIRG reports. The Capital District Off-Track Betting Corp., a Flaum partner on the Rensselaer proposal, spent $41,826.

Caesars gave $100,000 to political committees, data shows.

The entity Wilmorite & Holdings spent $15,091 over the two years to lobby its Lago Resort & Casino proposed for Seneca County in partnership with the Seneca Nation of Indians, the analysis shows. The Senecas spent $624,466 on lobbying efforts.

Wilmorite & Holdings contributed $93,900 to political committees and the Senecas contributed $353,624, data shows.

Wilmorite & Holdings spent $30,091 on lobbying in January and February of 2014, NYPIRG reports. Flaum spent $15,852.

Genting was the most aggressive lobbyist during the first two months of this year. Its $160,545 was more than three times more than the second-highest spender, the New York Gaming Association, at $49,043.

The exact amount of spending is impossible to determine because state lobbying disclosure requirements do not require lobbyists in municipalities with 50,000 residents or fewer to report their activities, the analysis states. Of the 16 potential casino locations, 15 have fewer than 50,000 residents.

NYPIRG is student-directed research and advocacy organization.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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