Amish in New York: No Casino Please

Over a dozen Amish appeared in a central New York court last week to express displeasure over plans to build a casino in their community.

“They could not imagine staying here with a casino,” explained their spokesman, Lynn Barbuto.

What problem do the Amish have with the proposed gambling house?

For one, traffic, which according to the article at (Update: article no longer online) would reach up to 9,000 cars per day.

There are likely moral qualms as well. Amish avoid being around vice activities like gambling (one reason they don’t settle in or near cities).

It also doesn’t help that the casino’s entrance would lie across the road from “the leader of the Amish community”. We can probably assume that means a bishop.

There are quite a few Amish communities in the region. Based on the area mentioned (town of Tyre), this likely concerns the Clyde settlement of Seneca and Wayne Counties (3 church districts in size).

According to WHAM, “seventy percent of the population of the town of Tyre is members of the Amish and Mennonite communities.” 

You can see Amish men pouring out of the courtroom in the video below (removed). When Amish show up in court in such numbers, it’s a good sign they feel pretty strongly about something.

The anchor describes them as “a powerful, and up until now, silent force.”

How would you feel if a casino opened in your neighborhood?

No doubt there are benefits to having a $350 million investment in your midst. Though with an unemployment rate of 6.4%, the area is not hurting terribly for jobs.

This is the Finger Lakes region of New York, known for its tourist appeal. Maybe this is just what comes with the territory?

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    1. See Both Sides

      Attracts Lowlife

      Gambling attracts lowlife. Hence, crime will probably go up.

      1. Thomas G. Warner

        Amish solution

        Since the Amish comprise 70% of the population of Tyre the solution appears simple. Amish can and do vote sometimes. Since they are in the majority they can vote anyone that feels like they do to the Town and Village boards. They also have a lot of power over the businesses in Tyre amd can do their business where ever it will get an impact on this issue. Since this will be a non conforming use, ( casino) it will have to go before the town board for a variance. I believe the Amish will win if there are enough English in the community that will stand up with them.

        1. Could Amish vote down the casino?

          Thomas you are right, sometimes they do vote, and probably more so on local issues…I wonder if these Amish have any history of voting. The more traditional or conservative they are the less likely what you propose could be a solution. But if it were a matter of making an exception to prevent something potentially so disruptive, I wonder if they would consider it.

    2. Anonymous

      There has always been crime sense the Jessie James bank robbery in small towns in the late 1800’s. There is gambling and their own share of crime in Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania.

      Therefore, what does anyone have to proved that Casinos won’t cause anymore crime vs. Tourist Crime in Lancaster Co, Pa?

      Some people have no clue what they are talking about.

      Oh yes, empty House near the Amish Houses in the middle of no where. how does the Amish actually know, whom their neighbors are. asking for rides to Amtrak, to the Bus, and so on?

      1. See Both Sides

        Jesse James Invented Crime?

        Both the Ten Commandments and Codex Hammurabi suggests crime is a little older than the James Gang.

    3. New York State of Mind

      Seeing I live in New York State, I have been following this. I go along with a casino as it would provide more jobs, but I am against where they want to build it. My feeling is that it should be built away from where Amish farms or anyone’s farm is. New York State is big enough that they could find a better place to build the casino. Even that area is big enough that they could find a better place to build it.

    4. Guy

      more are leaving

      More are leaving from New York State
      And lots are moving here in Columbiana Ohio
      So casino is more to the Fire

    5. Wendell Ferrell

      I'd like to start REFORMED AMISH-not SO different

      To me the Amish are the closest to Bible Christianity! BUT, why not be evangelistic, & invite everyone to join & be committed to help each other without having to live in the same community? Meet in homes-people are the church! No public school-why not home-school? Why not join me?

      1. Ed from NY

        Because what you are proposing would not be Amish at all. Amish don’t proselytize. They are modest and don’t shove their beliefs down everyone’s throat. They are also a distinct culture with their own language and traditions. And living in the same community is paramount for them.

        Very very few could join such a group. Perhaps that is a good thing.

    6. Robert Gschwind

      The Governor has made it more than plain to all, that he is against Christians, and conservatives. The Amish are both (no matter how liberal a group). Therefore he won’t help them, but may help the developers. And I can nearly guarantee you that the town board and judge will be bought off.

    7. SharonR

      Amish in New York - no casino please

      At least the Amish are up to date on what goes on in their community and want something good for it. I think, however, they will really need to get more support to persuade the developers that they need to move the location, elsewhere — like the old saying – “Not in my backyard”. We have situations like this down here in Florida — the Developers usually “win” and have no regards to the local residents or what they would want as a neighbor.

      I feel compassion for the Amish in this latest ‘invasion’ of their privacy. I’m sure they also have thought about the influence it would have on their young people and church districts, with gambling. As far as crime goes, you have that most all places, regardless of the city/state. I wish the Amish well in trying to persuade the powers that be, that maybe another area might be more suitable for a casino.

    8. TomK

      Running out of

      The casino will probably be built and it’s a good probability that the Amish will up-root and leave. Eventually though the Amish will run out of places to escape to, as modern day, 21st century consumerism and greed expands more and more across the U.S. and Canada…

    9. Kim

      Reply to Amish in New York: No Casino Please

      I live within 40 minutes of this location. My husband and I visit the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge often to watch birds and hike–this is right next to the proposed casino site. I wouldn’t want a casino in my backyard either.
      I noticed another commenter above mentioned Gov. Cuomo’s statement this year that anyone conservative is not welcome in the state –he is right, the governor will do all he can to railroad this through. There is lots of money to be made on people’s gambling addiction, so I have no doubt that unless God intervenes for the Amish, this casino will go through. I certainly will uphold them in prayer.

    10. Harley

      Come to ND

      ND would welcome the Amish. Lots of open space and land. We have Amish nearby in MN. I don’t think we have had Amish in ND since the early 1900’s.

    11. Jean Junkin

      Casino near the Amish

      I understand the Amish completely about not wanting to have a Casino across from an Amish House. They are peaceful people, and what an intrusion this would be. I have been to a casino a few times, and you wouldn’t believe who I’ve seen at them. Mothers and fathers who are on welfare and gambling away the money they got from Food Stamps when traded for Cash. The President of our local bank (wonder where all his gambling money came from). We have a casino about 30 miles from our home. Can you believe it is built right across the road from a Maximum Security Prison. Short distance for the criminal.

      1. Ed from NY

        Jean, you’ve been to the casino yourself, can you claim yourself to be any different than the others you saw inside?

        And how exactly do you know that people are gambling away money they got from food stamps and welfare? I don’t think that kind of money would go far amidst the high-rollers of a casino.

        -Ed (and yes, I’ve been to a casino before, tried and failed to pull a jackpot from the slot machine!)

    12. Mark - Holmes Co.

      I just don’t get it… Why is it “news” that the Amish are opposed to the casino? I’m guessing there may be Catholics, Baptists, Jews, or other people none too happy about it. As an Amish person I get a bit annoyed when “Amish” is used in the news in ways that other labels might not. “Baptist Youth arrested for Drugs,” “Jewish Farmer Protests Zoning Laws”, “Jehovah Witness Family Loses House to Fire”, “Catholics Protest Casino.” Or if you want to consider Amish as a cultural group, how about “Hispanic Family Moves to Our Community” or “Cambodian Girl Injured in Accident.” Maybe I’m just not looking at this issue right, but it seems to me the label Amish gets used a lot more often than other labels.

      1. Jean Junkin

        The word Amish

        When I think of Amish, I think of peace, simple living,and joyous times with our Lord. Mark you are so right. If its something about the Amish, it is all over the news. A man killed a young black man who was walking down the sidewalk, just because he didn’t want a black boy in his neighborhood. The boy was only 17. Guess what, the white man was found not guilty. In this case, the term “black man” was used over and over. He was a 17 year old young boy who was shot for being on a “white man” sidewalk. The term “white man” was rarely used, but they made sure the “black man” was in the news over and over. I am so tired of labeling. We are all the same in God’s eyes whether we are Amish, English, or African American. I really dislike what this world has come to and everyone has to be labeled. Again, Mark, I fully understand where you are coming from and agree with you 100%.

      2. Mark

        The Jews are also opposed

        KIRYAS JOEL — The Kiryas Joel Village Board has adopted a resolution opposing the location of a casino in Woodbury

      3. "Amish" in news headlines. My 2 cents...

        I think it makes the news since the Amish are in a word plainly exotic, and like it or not when the Amish are involved in public events they will often be deemed that much more newsworthy b/c of who is involved (even the banal happenings, like constructing a building).

        Additionally Amish won’t (or will only rarely, and not very loudly) protest the use of the label, so it’s not politically incorrect to use “Amish” to describe the people involved (whereas naming a lot of other ethnic or religious groups explicitly in a news story would probably get objections on the basis of political correctness). I think these are two of the main reasons why it happens so often. Occasionally there are news stories where you have to read between the lines to deduce the participants are Amish, but those are rarer.

        That’s my take anyway, for what it’s worth.

        Related point, in the video and article we see there are other non-Amish people who are also opposed to this…I have a feeling they are grateful the Amish are on board now, since it obviously gets the issue more attention.

        1. Melissa

          I would hardly call the construction of a casino in ‘Amish country’ banal.

          1. I didn't mean this casino story as "banal"

            I actually wasn’t referring to this story–but re-reading my comment I see why you took me to mean this casino as a “banal” happening. I should have used a different example.

            In fact by “constructing a building” I meant events like Amish people building barns and other structures which get covered in the news, but which are not much more than them doing their 9 to 5 jobs.

            I had the article below in mind–this is just a piece about a Lancaster Amish crew working to put up a timber frame building in New Jersey, but it made the Morristown Daily Record as a news story complete with video. I doubt it would see publication if it were English workers:


            Should have chosen another “banal” example to avoid confusion. There are plenty of others, such as one of these recent stories:




      4. Linda

        I agree that using the word Amish in news articles may be unnecessary, Mark. However, for Erik and others searching and researching for news about the Amish, it sure is a great aid. If the word Amish had not been used, we may not have read this New York article. Many articles about all things Amish would slip under the radar!

        People would be disappointed if a casino were built across the street from most any church. In some areas, certain businesses like bars may not be built within so many feet of a school or place of worship.

      5. Brian

        Mark-Holmes County

        Hello Mark,
        It really isn’t _just_ the the word Amish that gets misused or mislabeled. My circle A avitar is a symbol for Anarchism which has nothing to do with Atheism as some Christians seem to believe, although some Anarchists are also Atheists.
        How many times have you heard the media announce that a group of Anarchists were rioting or breaking windows? Not a single one of those people were really Anarchists, because we believe in the non-aggression principle (NAP). I became one after reading 1 Samuel chapter 8 I realized how very different the events in the entire rest of the bible would have been had those people rejected a man king. They were warned about the evil things that the man king (government) would do to them, but they stubbornly chose to have a man king anyway. Here are 2 links that better clarify what Anarchism really means:
        Other words have had their meanings change over time as well. Being a liberal used to mean that you valued freedom and individual liberty, which is the exact opposite of what modern liberals believe. Most Americans think that the Republican party is the opposite of the Democrat party, but that is completely wrong! Both parties are collectivists. Both are pro-war. The politicians from both so-called sides violate the Bill of Rights many times each year. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
        I do not have any idea about how we can stop such word misuse.

        1. Brian

          pt 2 to Mark-Holmes county

          My hyperlinks didn’t make it. To find the links I tried to post manually, you can enter into a search engine:
          1 Samuel chapter 8
          Oslo convention anarchism
          wikipedia anarchism.

          1. Brian

            pt 3 Mark

            I see that others including yourself have successfully entered links, so I will retry posting them, but this time I won’t bracket them with .

    13. Angelfancy

      Casino trouble

      Interesting that a casino would chose to bulid near the Amish. Cashing in on the Amish tourism I would guess. I don’t blame them for not wanting it near them. It would be highly unlikely to happen in the Amish area where I live. In Ontario farms that are currently farms can not be sold and used for anything else any more. It was the governments way of protecting farm land. We don’t have a whole lot of casinos in Ontario to start with. I do hope the Amish win.

    14. Melissa

      No casino in Amish country, please!

      I support the Amish in their fight against this monstrosity being built in their community. It is very rude and insensitive to go into such a conservative and quiet community to build a den of sin and iniquity. I live in Colorado Springs, CO, near cities that have approved the federally illegal sale of recreational marijuana. We must stop greed from encroaching immorality upon those who do not wish to be exposed to such things. No matter how the casino owners try to paint this, it is nothing more than blatant greed that fuels their efforts. They have no respect for how the people who live around the casino will be impacted if it is allowed to be built. I hope that the judge who is presiding over this issue has the wisdom and discernment to turn down the building of the casino.

      1. SharonR

        NO CASINO PLEASE in Amish Country

        You said it all, Melissa!! Hope the developers go somewhere else….as mentioned earlier, there is other places that would be a better place to put a casino, if they MUST!! I am in agreement with the Amish and others who do not want this, in their community/neighborhood!

      2. Ed from NY

        Melissa, anyone who opposes a casino (or a recreational pot shop) is free to avoid such an establishment. And arguments that such establishments are “immoral” are rather dubious…especially when you consider that many Amish themselves use alcohol or tobacco, and when you examine the terrible consequences the “war on drugs” has brought our society.

        It’s a very slippery slope to oppose something based on the grounds you are proposing. For example, how would you feel if neighbors opposed construction of a church, on the grounds that they want to sleep in on Sundays and all the traffic and church bells would disturb them? Who would you say is being “greedy” or “disrespectful” in such a case?

        Folks, if you oppose casinos … don’t go in one.

    15. Garrett Kozlowski

      What are they thinking

      Of all the places they can put a casino, why is all I can say!!!

      1. Kim

        The casino for this location will be right off the thru-way ramp. I would imagine that was one factor for their choice.

    16. Alice Mary

      Hmmmm. The Amish community is doubling every 20 years. Wait long enough (and don’t move out of the area) and there’ll be even MORE than 70% of Amish & Mennonites in the area. Peaceful protest worked for the Civil Rights movement, and I’m hoping the same works for this Amish/Mennonite community. I’m glad the “plain people” are taking a stand, and wish them well.

      This reminds me of a story I heard a few years back (Chicago) of someone wanting to put in a strip club near a convent. Strip club didn’t make it—but then, maybe “Chicago clout” was involved.

      I KNOW someone (jobless by choice, milking the system for disability) who frequents casinos in this regioin, wasting what little $$$ he still has (most of which comes from an elderly family member). I would not want to live near a casino, and am willing to go without the money that would “flow” into the local economy due to its construction.

      Alice Mary

    17. Jean Junkin


      With the governor of New York being totally against Christians, I believe this Casino will probably be built against their wishes. This governor needs to be impeached for even saying he is against Christians. When they have a governor behind the owners of the casino, he won’t care about the Amish or any other Christian faith. And whoever said whoever needs to bought off will be. Such a shame for such good people.

    18. The Other Erik

      Would the Amish help construct the casino?

      If the project is approved, and the construction jobs turn out to be well-paying, would the Amish accept fate? Would they actually accept the work, and then move away after the job was done?

    19. Ed from NY

      Build it...

      I support this casino, even though it wouldn’t be what I would choose to build there, if I had such a choice.

      Gambling is mostly legal, and some people are going to gamble. This will keep those people inclined toward gambling closer to home. Some of the gambled money will return to the community in terms of jobs. And those who don’t gamble are never obligated to go anywhere near the casino.

      A lot of those objecting to the casino seem to propose “Not In My Backyard” or NIMBYism. There are some who oppose any development or change whatsoever, on the grounds that…things might change. Guess what, change is inevitable. People have used this same kind of nonsensical reasoning to oppose things like Amish farms and businesses from opening in an area.

    20. Wendy

      living near a casino

      I live within a mile of a casino. It is not in the city I live but in the bigger city we share a border with. Traffic can be horrible and if I was driving a horse and buggy. It would be terrifying.

      I don’t gamble but the casino has the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. The parking deck of the casino is also the best place to watch the adjoining cities fireworks for the 4th of July.

    21. Jim

      A casino was recently built on Indian land near where I live. My observation is that a new casino will dramatically alter traffic, increasing traffic a lot. In addition, a new casino (assuming there is not another one nearby) encourages an increase in other forms of questionable behavior; alcohol consumption, drugs, smoking, and sexual behavior that the Amish would find questionable.

      On the plus side, casinos bring in tax revenue and often hire from the local population. In addition, casinos tend to bring in people from outside the area. Often there are busses that transport people to the casino. This may indirectly benefit any Amish businesses in the area by increasing tourist foot traffic.

      The only way that I know of that those opposing a casino can win is through zoning restrictions. For example, it may be legitimate to require the casino to fund road alterations to handle increased traffic, and some casinos may balk at the cost. Other kinds of zoning restrictions may apply, such as farm land vs. business usage. Zoning varies a lot and I don’t know the local situation. However, a battle of zoning classification might draw the Amish community into local politics in a way that they are not used to; I mean that it is usually local politicians (e.g. County Officials) who decide zoning issues.

      Personally, I feel, in balance, that a casino is not a good thing and I wish them well in their efforts.

    22. Linda

      CasiNO! Tyre (Finger Lakes Times)

      “Casino Free Tyre members hand-deliver opposition packet”

      “Some of the reasons listed included:

      • Town residents are predominantly multi-generational farmers and families, Amish and Mennonite communities continuing the tradition of the family farm, families choosing a rural lifestyle and sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts.
      • Anticipated social problems that are common to casinos, such as drunk driving, money-related crime increases and an increase in divorce, family abuse and bankruptcy and the need for gambling addiction counseling.”

    23. Stranger Things Merchandise

      I read the Post and got it fine and informative. Please share more like that. I will surely share it with my other friends also.