As the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering meets in Albany today, Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome, reiterated his call for a constitutional amendment for casino gambling.

“Nationally, we’ve seen that the number of states that have commercial gambling casinos continues to grow – some states are looking to approve new measures to allow or expand it. The explosion of internet-based gambling outlets has also sparked conversation over what kinds of gaming is poised for growth and which kinds are due to struggle.”

Griffo is the sponsor of Senate legislation that would pave the way for a constitutional amendment, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last month he would consider backing.

Construction of non-Indian casinos could be complicated, however, by concerns raisesd by the Seneca Nation of Indians on Tuesday.

Nation President Bob Porter said the state was failing to comply with a 2002 gaming accord that gives them exclusivity rights to casino built in western New York.

Porter also opened the door to the possibility of building a casino in Rochester.

Any casino amendment would be bitterly opposed by Indian nations, who have derived millions of dollars in revenue from the operation of the gaming facilities in the last several decades.

The Seneca Nation operates three casinos in western New York. It’s notable that the Senecas were the only Indian nation not to release a statement condemning Cuomo’s talk about the possibility of a constitutional amendment.

Any change to the state’s constitution must be decided by two different sessions of the Legislature and approved by voters — a lengthy process that often takes years to accomplish.

This isn’t Griffo’s first foray into finding alternative sources of revenue for the state and local governments. He is also the prime backer of allowing mixed-martial arts in New York, a measure that failed this spring despite a strong push from the industry.

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