With less than 2 weeks to the general elections, on November 5, the main Orthodox bloc-votes in New York started an intensive campaign to turn out tens of thousands of Orthodox voters to block plans for new casinos in the Catskill region and elsewhere in the state.
Both Satmar weeklies, Der Yid and Der Blatt, known with their influence on tens of thousands voters from the both Satmar factions and other Hasidic communities in New York city and Upstate New York, featured long articles in their papers on the ills resulting from the casinos, specifically to the Catskills region’s Sullivan County. They cite an increase in violent crimes and gambling addictions, among other troubles resulting from turning the area in a gambling region. Di Tzeitung, another widely-read newspaper among Yiddish speakers, had a sketching editorial, calling the community to vote “No.”
Orthodox Jews have a special bond to the Catskills, home to their summer camps and bungalow colonies where hundreds of thousand vacation and camp out during the summer season. In addition, the area experienced a boom of all-year-round developments drawing Orthodox families who are priced out and cramped out from the city.
Community leaders are naturally concerned that the casinos – two of which are planned in Sullivan County – will change the region and threaten their summer and all-year-round enclaves.
Given the low interest among statewide voters in the casino referendum, Orthodox opposition may turn out to be decisive in blocking the plans to expand gambling in New York.
(YWN Desk – NYC)