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National anti-casino activists lend support to Southern Tier residents

Matt Martin/WSKG

A vocal group of residents in Tyre have sued their town board over a proposal to bring a casino to the rural farming community. The group is now getting support from a national anti-casino activist. 

Protestors gathered Thursday in a field next to a proposed casino site in Tyre. The handful of protesters held signs opposing Rochester businessman Thomas Wilmot’s casino application.

Wilmot’s one of three applicants seeking to build a casino in the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region.

Les Bernal, Executive Director of Stop Predatory Gambling, addressed the crowd.

“The evidence is overwhelming that this is a failed public policy,” says Bernal.

The mission of Bernal’s DC-based group’s is to end government sponsorship of casinos. Bernal says New York’s plan for expanded gambling will only increase unfairness and inequality.

“You have a state government standing up and encouraging citizens to lose their money on something they are guaranteed to lose," says Bernal. "It’s a rigged game. They’re putting this stuff on Main Street.”

Bernal spent the day meeting with concerned residents in Tyre. He was there to develop strategies to fight against the casino.

About a month ago, the group Casino-Free Tyre filed a lawsuit against the town board and the developer. 

They are suing the town over a zoning change that will make it possible for a casino to be built.

Mario Fratto is the attorney who filed the lawsuit. Fratto says the law was passed without proper input from the town.   

“So before any debate was really had on if a casino was good, if it’s bad, the economic impacts or anything else this law was passed which basically already made the decision for the town,” says Fratto.  

Wilmot lawyers filed for a dismissal of the lawsuit. A judge will hear oral arguments on May 7th.

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