Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide said in a radio interview this morning that an expansion of gambling in New York would lose administration support if the process for building and placing casinos falls short of being independent.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has pushed for a broader role for lawmakers in where casinos would be built once an amendment to the state’s Constitution is approved, along with enabling legislation that provides for up to three north of the New York City metropolitan area.

“If the process is done well, if it’s an independent process, he’s not going to move it forward,” said Secretary Larry Schwartz on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show. “He’s not going to let the Legislature politicize the process of who builds the casinos and where.”

It’s not entirely clear what would happen if Cuomo no longer backed the amendment, which already was approved for the first time by the Legislature last year. Second passage is due to come up later this year, and it then goes before voters in a referendum.

But Schwartz said that if Cuomo drops the proposal, it would likely be a body blow to expanding gambling beyond American Indian tribes that run several casinos in western and central New York.

“I don’t think the leaders are willing to move ahead without the governor,” Schwartz said.

Cuomo wants the placement of casinos to be up to a gaming commission — whose members he appoints — and not subject to legislative discretion.

The governor met with the three legislative leaders — Silver and Senate co-presidents Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein — to discuss the casino proposal on Wednesday. Cuomo emerged from the meeting to say there was a “conceptual agreement” to the leave the casino placement process up to the gaming commission.

Cuomo said lawmakers would have a general idea for where the casinos would be built when they vote on the enabling legislation.

All lawmakers who met with the governor yesterday said the casino issue was “evolving.”

Skelos, the Senate Republican leader, told reporters in a scrum after a joint news conference that there was a possibility for more than three casinos and even was open to the idea for building a casino near the Belmont Racetrack on Long Island.

Meanwhile, the governor’s sky-high approval rating took a hit in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday that found a 15-percentage point drop for Cuomo.

Schwartz said that the poll drop — which Cuomo attributed yesterday to the sweeping gun control that was approved this month — hasn’t hurt morale in the governor’s office.

“The mood is great and morale is very high,” Schwartz said. “There’s no doubt that we took a hit in the polls. We knew this was a 70-30 issue.”

He added, “We knew especially with conservative Republicans we would take a hit.”

Schwartz cast doubt on the poll’s accuracy and said that once New Yorkers understand the law, they’ll back it (the latter of which was an argument made by Cuomo himself yesterday).

“I believe the vast majority of the public support what the governor stands for and what the governor has accomplished,” he said. “Legal gun owners, responsible gun owners, will know that this law doesn’t talk away their gun.”