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ALBANY, N.Y.-- Theatre groups from the Hudson Valley took part in a news conference to remind people that they don't want to be forgotten about if New Yorkers vote for expanded casino gambling.
The "Upstate Theaters for a Fair Game" are asking the state for help.
If the expansion of casino gambling is passed it could mean as many as four new casinos across upstate New York that pay performers more than local theaters and draw higher-quality entertainment.
A representative of the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie said the group is all for the casinos, but they need agreements from the state through the casinos to ensure those casinos can't monopolize the best entertainment.
"First of all, nobody is putting a casino in downtown Poughkeepsie or downtown Kingston. We are the anchors for those cities. Without us, there's not a lot going on, especially in midtown Kingston. We've, over the last 40 years, helped create those communities and helped build them up after the 70s. And the casinos are not going to do that. They're not going to help our downtowns. But what we don't want them to do is hurt out downtowns indirectly through control and monopoly of the artists that we present," said Chris Silva, the Executive Director of the Bardavon Opera House.
Other Hudson Valley theaters included in the coalition are the Bardavon Opera House, Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, and Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
The New York State Gaming Commission released a statement in response to the group that read:
"We will work with the coalition to ensure that no casino operator can successfully bid for a New York casino unless it has a signed partnership agreement with entertainment venues in the local market. We believe any new gaming resorts must and will provide a major boost for our existing and historic live entertainment venues.”