Survey says most merchants oppose Saratoga casino
SARATOGA SPRINGS About 63 percent of the members of the city’s Downtown Business Association are opposed to casino gambling expansion in Saratoga Springs, according to a newsletter released by the group this month.
The informal survey conducted by the association in December also found more than half its members fear a casino in the city will have a negative impact on business. The survey found about one-third of responding businesses believe a casino would have a positive impact.
Casino opponents claim the survey highlights the serious concerns downtown businesses have about the prospect of a facility with live table games opening within the city. Colin Klepetar, co-founder of Saratogians Against Vegas-style Expansion, said his organization distributed a resolution opposing any casino gambling expansion in the city to the five members of the City Council last week.
“We understand that our downtown businesses are only as strong as the community that supports them, and they are the reason so many people choose to live here and visit here,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “To show our continued support, we are encouraging the community to spend time and money downtown, especially over the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile, the City Center Authority adopted a resolution opposing construction of a 24,000-square-foot, 2,000-seat, multi-purpose event center being planned by Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which is vying for one of four live table game facilities to be sited in the state this fall. The resolution passed last week supports imposing restrictions suggested by a coalition of entertainment venues in October and does not address the racino’s forthcoming bid for a casino license.
The authority is proposing “operational arrangements and binding agreements” that would help mitigate the impact of such a facility. These include limiting the size of the racino’s event center to 10,000 square feet of flat floor space, including a “defined scope of intended use” for the proposed facility and an agreed-upon strategy for booking events.