From 2005 through June 2012, gambling and horse racing interests spent nearly $50 million in political money in New York State -- over $40 million on lobbying and roughly $7.1 million in campaign contributions.
The gambling industry plays an outsized role in Albany politics compared to its significance in the state’s economy. Looking at these totals by election cycle (‘05-‘06, ‘07-‘08, etc.) the industry spent at least $9.5 million on lobbying and $1.5 million on contributions each cycle.
For comparison, New York’s entire banking and financial services sector spends roughly $16 million on lobbying each election cycle,4 and corporate donations from the state’s entire energy industry amounted to $1.4 million in the 2010 cycle.5 Each of these economic sectors is hundreds of times larger than the gambling/horseracing industry in New York State.
From 2005 through 2011, the annual flow of political money from the gambling industry was fairly stable – between $5 and $7 million each year in combined campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.
In 2012, the gambling industry is on pace to spend more political money than in any prior year, with nearly $4 million spent on lobbying and over $700,000 in campaign contributions through the first half of 2012.