Pastors Call On State To Award Remaining Casino Licenses In An Open Transparent Process

February 6, 2021

We, the clergy members of New York State and New York City respectfully submit this letter of support for Governor Cuomo’s Gaming License initiative approved by voters in 2013. We believe that this initiative is critical to the revitalization of devastated business communities suffering from the unfortunate effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

It is our request that the legislature ensure that the selection process for such licenses be fair, open, transparent, and competitive to all New Yorkers especially to women and minority-owned businesses from at risk and highly impacted post-pandemic areas.

The initial goal of Gaming licensing was to create ownership opportunities, competitive wage jobs, increase tourism, and recapture gambling revenue lost to casinos in neighboring states.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo mandated and ensured that the selection process required an MWBE component.

Specifically, those potential operators commit to employing and partnering with MWBEs as part of their project to create equity and job opportunities. Our affected communities need this today!

We as clergy witness up close the effects of marginalization from economic loss with our members suffering home instability, hunger, healthcare without insurance, and separation of families.

Our request is to seize an opportunity where we can build them back stronger in an equitable and sustainable manner.

Communities specifically those of color and low-income have been devastated and even destroyed because businesses have either closed or have relocated to other states.

Resulting in job losses and the spiraling effects of not having income generated into communities organically resulting in severe Wall Street losses.

We strongly favor Gaming because today more than ever our community needs an economic boost that will lift them from the angst of lost opportunities and hope.

We believe that Gaming would provide pre-and post-construction avenues for competitive job opportunities and wages from design and development to operational and ownership opportunities.

We understand that some would argue that Gaming is another avenue for vice and that we, in support of this initiative, are encouraging people to Gamble.

We counter by emphatically stating that we do not encourage the development of any vice whether it is gambling, alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana.

We support the balance of economic and social opportunities. We propose that this be done with the legislature mandating that casinos set aside monies as part of it being awarding licenses.

Lastly, it is our moral, social, and legal responsibility to regroup and not only take but make new opportunities to regain economic stability.

We must do so by supporting the building of casinos in the downstate area, providing oversight of the selection process with strict adherence to the MWBEs mandates and business enterprise standards, and to hold everyone accountable to the development of community via the Gaming License opportunities of a casino.

Respectfully submitted,

Concerned New York State and New York City Clergy

  • Reverend Dr. James R. Banks II, Faith Baptist Church, Buffalo
  • Reverend Dr. Frank Bostic, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Buffalo
  • Reverend Dr. Donald Butler, Community Baptist Church, Suffolk County
  • Reverend Larry Camp, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Brooklyn
  • Reverend Gary Colter, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, Peekskill/Westchester
  • Reverend Jeffrey Crenshaw, New Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Harlem
  • Bishop Phillip Elliott, Antioch Baptist Church, Nassau County
  • Reverend Lessley Gilmore, Christ Missionary Baptist Church, Syracuse
  • Reverend Dr. Johnnie Green Jr, Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem
  • Reverend Dr. Dennis Lee Jr., Hopewell Baptist Church, Buffalo
  • Reverend Dr. Jonathan J. McReynolds, Aenon Baptist Church, Rochester
  • Reverend Lemuel Mobley, Living Stone Baptist Church, Brooklyn
  • Reverend William E. Morgan, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Albany
  • Reverend Dr. Darren Morton, Macedonia Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon
  • Reverend Dr. Gilbert Pickett Sr., Mt. Horeb Baptist Church, Queens
  • Bishop Calvin Rice, New Jerusalem Worship Center, Jamaica
  • Reverend Derrick Tanyhill, Pentecost Evangelical Missionary Baptist Church, Syracuse
  • Reverend Dr. Elgin Joseph Taylor Sr., Sweet Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, Albany
  • Reverend Timothy P. Taylor, Hebron Baptist Church, Brooklyn
  • Reverend Dr. Jeffery Thompson, Amity Baptist Church, Queens
  • Reverend Cyrus Thornton, Second Olivet Missionary Baptist Church, Syracuse
  • Reverend Dr. Richard D. Turpin, Second Baptist Church, Catskill
  • Reverend Dr. Carl L. Washington Jr., New Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Harlem
  • Reverend Carl L. Washington III, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Nyack
  • Reverend Patrick Young, First Baptist Church, Queens

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