Oh ho ho!

Language that would have prohibited casino operators seeking licenses in New York and some of their employees from donating to political candidates appears to have been deleted from the final versions of the bill that passed the Assembly today and will be considered by the Senate this evening.

NYPIRG researcher Bill Mahoney pointed out this evening that language from the 200-page plus bill for the so-called enabling legislation expand casino gambling in New York that would have blocked political contributions from casino interests seeking to build in New York to candidates was quietly removed.

The bill specifically lays out the ban on page 136 of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s program bill:

“Any person or business entity applying for or holding a 17 license, any affiliated entities or persons of such business 18 entity, and any entities or persons soliciting a contribution or 19 causing a contribution to be made on behalf of such person or 20 business entity, are prohibited from making any contribution to 21 any officeholder or declared candidate or any political 22 committee affiliated with any officeholder or declared 23 candidate.

The chapter amendment to the bill removed the prohibition as noted by Hinman Straub’s generally excellent policy blog.

Removing the ban as it appears will likely open a floodgate of political contributions from casino operators and other well-heeled gambling interests should voters grant final passage of a constitutional referendum to expand non-Indian casinos this fall.