Saratoga County to support East Greenbush casino bid

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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— The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors will back plans for a casino in East Greenbush, if the East Greenbush Town Board endorses it Thursday afternoon.

The board’s Law and Finance Committee on Wednesday unanimously voted to support the proposal. The partnership proposing it includes the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

That vote sends the matter to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, though with the condition that East Greenbush must have acted favorably. It is meeting at 4:30 p.m.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which has only video lottery terminals in its Saratoga Springs gaming area, expects to lose as much as 40 percent of its business once a full casino opens in the Capital Region — one reason it wants to be part of the full casino action with the East Greenbush proposal.

Racino officials fear loss of business could lead to layoffs among its 630 employees, unless they can be transferred to the new casino, which could employ as many as 1,700 people.

“This was brought to us to support a Saratoga-based business that will probably lose some business at its current site,” said County Administrator Spencer Hellwig.

The county’s endorsement may help the project win points in the state’s site-selection process, officials said.

“This would help us build support, and it is very important to Saratoga Casino and Raceway,” said George “Skip” Carlson, the company’s vice president.

The state Gaming Commission is expected to select one casino for the Capital Region from among proposals for East Greenbush, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Amsterdam and possibly Howes Cave. Applications are due by June 30.

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