Gaming board rejects measures of local support
ALBANY Resolutions submitted by municipalities throughout the Capital Region in favor of a full-scale casino were not accepted by the state Gaming Facility Location Board, the agency announced Tuesday.
Sites in Albany, East Greenbush, Montgomery County, Schenectady and Schoharie County have been pitched as potential locations for a casino. So far, the cities of Amsterdam and Rensselaer and the towns of Cobleskill, East Greenbush and Florida approved resolutions in favor of casinos.
According to a news release from the Gaming Facility Location Board, resolutions should indicate support for the “specific gaming facility” within the host municipality. That means a county resolution would not be accepted and a specific casino project would need to be referenced.
The East Greenbush Town Board passed a resolution of support in April, before Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs announced their proposed casino project for that town. Therefore, their resolution is not valid and would have to be voted on a second time.
It is unclear why the resolutions from Amsterdam, Cobleskill and Florida were not accepted. Albany and Schenectady have not yet voted on resolutions in support of their respective casino proposals.
The members of the Schenectady City Council have not made up their minds. Councilman Vince Riggi is firmly opposed, citing concerns about crime, and Council President Margaret King is absolutely in favor. The other five are still thinking about it.
But many of them are leaning in favor. Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said if she had to vote now, she’d vote to support the casino.
“I can tell you I’m thrilled with the company they chose. They have very reputable, successful casinos. They pay fair wages. Their employees seem happy,” she said.
She added that it’s “too early” to make a final decision, however. “I think we’re still in the information-gathering stage,” she said. “But right now, the positive is far outweighing the negative.”
Councilman Ed Kosiur is particularly thrilled by the promise of millions of dollars to the city, county and school district.
“I’m very supportive of the idea,” he said, adding that he still wants to hear from the public before voting on the matter.
King said she was happy to hear the casino operator was voted “best place to work.”
“I loved what I saw today,” she said. “I hope it’s a go.”
Even Councilman Carl Erikson, who was on the fence, seems to be leaning toward the casino because of the money the city would get.
“There’s a definite upside. As more information comes in, we’re hearing a financial upside,” he said.
But he’s still worried about the effects of gambling addiction, crime and other possible side effects of the casino.
“I’m still listening. There’s things I’m concerned about,” he said. “But I’m not opposed.”