Gambling parties have spent more than $11 million over the past two years on campaign donations and lobbying spending, according to a report released today by the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Companies pursuing casinos in upstate New York spent $6.7 million on lobbying campaigns and $4.3 million in campaign donations on the state and local level in 2012 and 2013.
David Flaum of Rochester-based Flaum Management pursuing a casino at de Laet’s Landing in the city of Rensselaer spent $211,925 lobbying. Hard Rock International is partnering on the project with Capital District Off-Track Betting Corp.
Capital OTB spent $41,826 in lobbying during the same period. Flaum also provided $149,060 in campaign donations over the past two years, according to the report.
Rush Street Gaming, the Chicago-based casino operator pitching Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, provided $15,230 in lobbying. The company is partnering with Galesi Group, a Rotterdam-based developer. Galesi Group provided $45,515 in campaign donations.
Rush is also teaming with James Featherstonhaugh of Saratoga Casino and Raceway for a casino project in Newburgh, Orange County.
But Featherstonhaugh is competing against Rush with his bid for a casino in East Greenbush — Capital View Casino & Resort. He contributed $138,599 to political committees. Also, Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. gave $423,200 in donations.
In Cobleskill, Howe Caverns owner Emil Galasso is teaming with Michigan casino developer Michael Malik for a proposed casino project at the tourist attraction. Galasso paid $1,500 in donations and Malik gave $16,150.
The report states that entities are only required to detail their activities if municipalities have more than 50,000 people. But the only area proposed for a casino that is above that threshold is Schenectady with about 66,000 residents.