They are dramatically out-funded and out-gunned by the statewide campaign pushing approval of the casino expansion amendment, but the anti-Prop. 1 set has one secret weapon: Former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Well, not the modern-day Mario Cuomo, who doesn’t often take public positions – especially if they’re not in keeping with the agenda of his son, current Gov. Andrew Cuomo – but rather his anti-gambling comments.

A new ad released today by the Committee Against Proposition 1 quotes Mario Cuomo calling casino gambling “economically regressive to a state and a community” and a mechanism to merely redistribute wealth, not generate it.

The former governor wrote those words in “The New York Idea: An Experiment in Democracy,” which was published in 1994 – the year he lost his bid for a fourth term to a little-known Republican state senator named George Pataki.

This isn’t the first time the anti-gambling lobby has employed this argument against the current governor’s push to expans non-Indian run casinos in New York. But it is the first time they’ve used the former governor’s words in a TV ad, and given Andrew Cuomo’s relationship with his father, this spot seems specifically intended to tweak the governor on an issue that has become of critical importance to him.

The ad will run on NY1. Prop. 1 opponents also began their first leaflet drop today at New York City subway stations and plan  to continue their outreach efforts through Election Day. Here’s the script of the ad:

“VOICEOVER: Former Governor Mario Cuomo on casino gambling:

MALE VOICE: There is a respectable body of economic thought that holds that casino gambling is actually economically regressive to a state and a community.
Casinos are a whole different breed. It changes communities. It doesn’t generate wealth, it just redistributes it.

VOICEOVER: Mario Cuomo wouldn’t support changing the New York State constitution to allow Las Vegas-style casinos. He knew gambling was a bad bet for New York. Vote with Cuomo. Vote NO on proposition 1.

CREDIT VOICE: Paid for by Committee Against Proposition 1.”