Comments by dagiacalone
Posted on August 15 at 12:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Why is it that Zephyr Teachout has figured out the casino scam, but our local politicians are playing Hear-No-See-No-Speak-No Evil? Thanks, Zephyr. I couldn't have said it better myself, and I've spent the past three months trying to Stop the Schenectady Casino.
Posted on August 5 at 1:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)
The RPI reactor is not a secret and certainly could not have stayed hidden from the Location Board. Much more worrisome is the fact Rush Street Gaming [RSG] asked that some very important answers be kept from the public that would appear to have little or no truly sensitive information, or that could have easily been partially redacted, leaving useful information available to the public. The fact that the Gaming Commission's Location Board has permitted the requested redactions certainly does bring into question its notion of transparency, its definition of sensitive information or competitive disadvantage under FOIL, and whether it sees its job as protecting the public interest or the casinos' interests.
Examples of topics totally redacted that are important to many segments of the public are: a) RSG's Market Analysis, including its projected revenue from out-of-state customers. b) Job Promises -- how many jobs it is promising to ensure at the opening of the casino, and how many would be high-quality jobs. c) its Target Market Segments (i.e., is it going after senior citizens, undergraduates from across the street and across state lines, customers who come monthly or 4 times a week, etc.?). d) The terms of the agreement it has made with the Fair Trade theater coalition to limit its competition with those large entertainment and cultural venues, including what exclusivity arrangements it has made as to territories and types of entertainment where it would not compete with Proctors or other nearby venues; what kind of joint ticketing and marketing it has accepted, and what maximum or minimum ticket prices or discounts RSG has accepted.
Such information could be crucial in deciding just how good a deal Schenectady and the County are getting in exchange for their support, which segments of the leisure services market should fear casino competition, whether consumers are likely to suffer higher ticket prices at entertainment venues, and which vulnerable groups will be targeted as easy marks. It is "sensitive" only to the extent that it could embarrass Rush Street Gaming, its business partners, and its development cheerleaders.
Posted on August 3 at 12:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Thank you, ChuckD. I wonder if Gazette editors wanted to counteract the article on June 8th, by Bethany Bump, entitled "Officials in other cities warn of pitfalls, failed promises by Rush Street"? See
Posted on August 3 at 1:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)
It sounds as if the Gazette has only talked to casino boosters -- Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development staffers, and the like -- who sound like Schenectady's development professionals, with not a bad word to be said about any development. What do casino opponents and advocates for the poor say?
Here are a few things your readers should know about SugarHouse in Philadelphia. (1) Rush Street Gaming [RSG] scaled down its casino in Philadelphia in response to community concerns about its size, but only four years after opening, it has broken ground on an "addition" that is much larger than the original casino, with its CEO saying "we've waited a long time to do this."
(2). RSG's CEO Carlin brags that they encourage their customers to stay at surrounding hotels. Of course it does: SugarHouse has no hotel of its own and must help customers find suitable lodging nearby.
(3) As to crime near SugarHouse, RSG forgets to mention (as does the Gazette) that Philadelphia PD has created a 14-man unit that solely patrols a one-half mile square around the casino. [A patrol that size would cost over $1 million annually in total compensation in Schenectady.] That surely accounts for the drop in crime. Unfortunately, however, there has been "displacement" and the area just past that half-mile radius (analogous to our Stockade neighborhood) has seen very large increases in vehicle theft and vehicle break-ins.
In addition, a major study of crime near SugarHouse since its opening in 2010 says that "“Violent street felonies increased in the target area compared with the control area.” The authors of the report say the increase was not significant, but tell that to the victims.
(4) At SugarHouse RSG has specifically targeted young gamblers by creating a less-complicated form of craps, called "Props & Hops." It has also recently added a large number of poker tables. They plan to have 12 poker tables in Schenectady, at a casino only a block from a major undergraduate Union College dorm, and a few blocks from Union's campus of poker fanatics. Since New York is one of the few states that allows 18 year-olds to gamble, we can surely expect a lot of promotions aimed at our pre-21 crowd.
Finally (for now), RSG claims in its Application that there will be no increase in the prevalence of problem gambling in Schenectady, because our residents can already go to Racino in Saratoga, or to Foxwoods in Connecticut, or Atlantic City. Apparently, no one on the Applicant's team has read the many reports showing that gamblers go to casinos a lot more often when there is one conveniently nearby. In fact, studies show that the number of problem gamblers doubles in the area within ten miles of a new casino.
What other claims has Rush Street Gaming been make that have no basis in fact?
Find more about Schenectady's casino at stoptheschenectadycasino.com
Posted on August 1 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Jimoconnor, Galesi has said they will continue with Mohawk Harbor (marina, condos, stores, grocery, hotel, etc.), with plans to spend $200 million, if there is no casino. If the casino fails, Cark Erikson told me three weeks ago that there would really be no problem as it could readily be transformed into top-level office space, which is much needed in Schenectady.
Posted on July 31 at 11:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Haley and the Gazette will do a more thorough job tomorrow, but I got through a quick review before the Applications went offline, and you can see a brief run-down on important points from the Application for the Schenectady Casino at this webpage:
You will probably be disappointed at how much information that we'd like to know is redacted, giving us nothing but blank space or black splotches. However, I did capture a look at the actual casino building.
Posted on July 2 at 7:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Fair Game has also reached agreement with seven applicants in the two other Upstate regions where casino licenses will be granted in the Fall. Therefore, the "FairGame" Coalition (Concert Cartel?) may end up achieving joint booking and venue-size limitations, plus a revenue-sharing agreement with each of the 3 or 4 winning casinos. That could mean the equivalent of territorial exclusivity, and joint booking and ticket pricing, for each FairGame member, across all of the eastern portion of Upstate New York, plus midState locations such as Utica and Syracuse, and apparently stretching to their members in the Western end of the State.
If their anticompetitive joint negotiations are not stopped under the antitrust laws, the members of the FairGame Coalition will be allowed to leverage the protection that the State meant to give local and regional entertainment venues from local casinos into a vast network of competition-killing promises among themselves and between each entertainment center and far-spread casinos covering several large regions, and perhaps all of Upstate New York. Will the NYS Attorney General step in to stop this anti-consumer power grab?
For more analysis, including discussion of the inapplicability of the State Action Doctrine, go to
Posted on June 28 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)
At the website "stop the Schenecgtady casino," I have posted my Explanation to the Attorney General for my antitrust concerns, with further discussion of the issues. See: http://tinyurl.com/UnfairGame
Posted on June 10 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Marion Porterfield and Vince Riggi should be thanked and congratulated for withstanding the immense pressure to go along with a Yes vote in order to present the look of unanimity. They did their homework, racked their brains, and searched their hearts. It is difficult to believe that the Council members who have been bubbly enthusiasts for a casino long before the details were known and constantly thereafter ever bothered to look into the real effects of an urban casino and the broken promises that come after every casino developer's pitch. The list of studies that should have been made and research done that apparently were ignored by City Hall is long enough to shame a high school dropout, much less a responsible public official.
I appreciate the opportunities the Gazette reporters have given me to express my views. But, I did think I expressed them a little more clearly than the quotation in the above article. To my recollection, I was asked which of the many concerns of opponents I shareded. I replied that the only major concern that I did not personally share was that gambling itself is immoral. I then said I believed it was not moral, and search for a less-moralistic word, and chose "ethical", to base our tax policy and desire to reduce taxes on a plan that would take so much of its revenues from the poor and vulnerable, who would gamble more with a casino right in our City. If I was less clear than that outside the Meeting room, I am grateful for the chance to do some editing here in a Comment.
Posted on June 7 at 1:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The County should have offered to split the cost with NYS Department of Transportation to install guardrails between the roadway of the high-speed Western Gateway Bridge and the sidewalks, which include a newly-designated, two-way, bike-ped trail segment, connecting the Scotia and Schenectady trails. County and City Planners were asleep at the wheel when DOT unveiled the plans for the Bridge, and did not raise an alarm when the recent $17 million Rehab Project was designed with no sidewalk guardrails along its curbs for the first time in 40 years. Why not correct that mistake with part of the federal grant money? See http://tinyurl.com/WGBIssues for photos and discussion.