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Around Saratoga

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Saratoga chamber, Gaming Association come out against Cuomo's casino plan

The Saratoga Casino & Raceway and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce are opposed to the current version of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to bring three non-Indian live-table casinos to upstate.

Although the Saratoga Casino & Raceway wants to get live-table games, it is aligned with the other eight racinos in opposition to the current siting plan, according to Saratoga Casino & Raceway Vice President Marketing and External Affairs Rita Cox.

The New York Gaming Association, which represents the nine racinos in New York state, released a statement earlier in this week predicting that the legisaltion will not have the desired economic impact and will cannibalize the state's existing gambling interests.

"It is not possible for NYGA to support the current proposed legislation," said NYGA President James Featherstonhaugh in a statement. "We believe that the only way to prevent the loss of major tax revenue and the stagnation of jobs is by permitting the five racinos not located near current Tribal zones to operate under the same rules proposed in the new legislation."

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said a problem with the legislation is the potential loss of support for the New York Racing Association, which operates Saratoga Race Course.

The bill doesn't require the new casinos to support NYRA's operating budget, purses and horsemen. As a result, NYRA would continue only to receive support from Resorts World Casino in Queens, which might see a drop in business due to competition from New York casinos with live-table games.

Shimkus and the chamber have previously announced support for a casino siting plan that gave live-table games to racinos, including Saratoga.

Shimkus is optimistic about a different siting bill passing the state Legislature, saying of the governor's proposal: "It can be fixed."

Until there are changes, he added, "We are talking to anybody who will listen."

One provision the chamber does like in the bill is the host-payment language, Shimkus said.

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