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New Yorkers support legal casino gambling: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state voters support legalized casino gambling by a 56-37 margin, an opinion poll said on Wednesday, giving a boost to advocates who want to bring gambling to a state badly in need of the revenue it would generate.

The state allows casino gambling on Native American lands and electronic slot machines at horse racing tracks where pari-mutuel wagering is allowed. Any expansion to Las Vegas- and Atlantic City-style gambling, which would help New York compete with neighboring states that have already made the move, requires a constitutional amendment.

Sixty-four percent of those who responded to the Quinnipiac University poll said creating casinos similar to those in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey, would be good for the economy.

But 63 percent also said legalized casinos would lead to an increase in gambling addiction, Quinnipiac said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, a popular Democrat, has said the state should consider legalizing casino gambling for games such as blackjack and roulette, which would bring extra tax dollars to a state that faces a long-term fiscal crunch. He said he would aim to reach a decision whether to support it by January.

Postponing any decision until next year would delay until at least 2013 the prospect of legalizing casino gambling in the state. Two consecutive legislatures must approve a proposed amendment, which could then go before the voters in a referendum.

The September 13-18 poll of 1,016 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, Quinnipiac said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bill Trott)

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