Racino owners drop plans for Saratoga Springs casino in favor of East Greenbush site

The owners of Saratoga Casino and Raceway will not seek a state license to run a full-scale casino in Saratoga Springs, NY, and instead are pursuing a site in East Greenbush, a surprise move that changes the competitive landscape for a local casino.
«Saratoga Casino and Raceway intends to pursue a bid for a ‘destination casino’ license in East Greenbush,» according to an official statement released today. «We will also continue to operate our successful facility in Saratoga and we will look forward to maintaining our strong partnerships within this community.»
The Times Union first reported the decision today.
The newspaper reported the Rensselaer County town of East Greenbush approved a resolution last week supporting casino development, though no developer or specific site in the town was identified.
East Greenbush Town Supervisor Keith Langley issued a statement today saying the town has a «solid proposal» but that it’s still early in the process.
«We are interested in learning more from the developer about this project, and seeing if there is a godo fit for East Greenbush,» Langley said.
He said a casino would generate $5 million to $7 million annually in guaranteed revenue, boosting town finances and providing property tax relief.
East Greenbush is across the Hudson River from the city of Albany, where a development team has proposed a $300 million-plus resort casino on nearly 60 acres near Thruway Exit 23.
Supporters of the so-called ‘E23’ casino believe the East Greenbush proposal could galvanize support on the Albany Common Council because of concerns about the city losing the jobs and economic benefits that would otherwise go to East Greenbush.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which has 1,800 video slot machines, had long been believed to be the frontrunner in the race to open a full-scale casino with live table games in the Capital Region.
The Capital Region is among three upstate areas where the state will award up to four casino gambling licenses this fall after voters approved a statewide referendum in November.
Approval of the referendum unleashed several competing proposals for a casino, and also fueled a grassroots effort to block a full-scale casino in Saratoga Springs, a city long associated with gambling.
The lobbying effort by opponents led the Saratoga Springs City Council to unanimously pass a resolution criticizing the state’s casino siting law, in part because of a lack of local control. That vote was expected to be a major obstacle if the racino sought a resolution of support from the city, as required by the state’s casino license application.

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