Poughkeepsie Journal

Despite a weakened economy and high unemployment, gambling in New York continues to soar as the state debates whether to legalize casinos, according to records from the state lottery.

Sales of traditional lottery games — such as the multistate Powerball and Mega Millions — increased by 2 percent, or by about $73.3 million, between 2010 and 2011.

But the largest increase in revenue came from the state’s nine racetracks, which continue to produce record numbers. Jackpots, like Wednesday’s $170 million Powerball game, help generate interest in state-sponsored gambling.