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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Build It (sans slots), And They Won't Come

- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reiterated his opposition to the slots at Belmont that Governor Paterson did not actually propose the other day. Paterson spoke only of a "a range of possible development options" in a statement that came after Senate Majority Leader Skelos did once again voice his support for expanded gambling there.

I suppose that the Governor does not want to allow Skelos and the Republicans to be able to claim any idea as purely their own with a week until the elections, and therefore wants to be on board to a certain extent. But, at the same time, he's not about to cross fellow Democrat Silver at this time, knowing that his opposition is absolute, at least at this point with nothing obvious to offer Silver in return. It's the same kind of delicate balancing act he's been attempting ever since he took over the governor's mansion - making nice nice with the GOP, while quietly, at least at first, devoting full effort and resources into his party's efforts to take the Senate.

But on the issue of Belmont, I think you can bet that Paterson stands with the GOP. In this case, "development opportunities for Belmont" can really only mean one thing. Paul Post reports in the Saratogian that leaders from both parties are in general agreement that Belmont should have new amenities such as a hotel, retail and entertainment. Those can only be code words for a VLT parlor. I can virtually guarantee that nobody is going to build a lavish hotel with entertainment in Elmont, NY without one. Based on the on-track attendance at Belmont, a Motel 6 would be more than sufficient. And while Belmont does have a good location right off the highway and bordering affluent Nassau County, there's absolutely no connection between such a complex and the track without the gaming. What would be the possible attraction for people to spend the weekend in Elmont as opposed to the Hamptons, or in Manhattan for that matter?

Sure, I guess that if you build something attractive enough, people may come. But I see no reason on earth why Elmont would necessarily be the prime spot for such a project absent the obvious. I'm sure there are other empty parking lots on Long Island, and in locations that would make more sense.

7 Comments:

El Angelo said...

Are VLTs alone enough for a hotel? I mean, do people make overnight trips to just play slot machines for 2 days and do nothing else? If so, why on earth would they go to Elmont over, say, the Catskills or Connecticut? Anyone that would be drawn to slot machines at Belmont would be a day tripper, not an overnight guest.

Anonymous said...

How about a Disneyland type family theme park, or something like Hershey park in PA or something Six Flags would do? Plenty of room, a hotel(s) would be needed and people might even say, "Geez, there's a horse racing track next door. i never knew that. Let's have a look and see what's going on" VLT's are a "dumb" man's game, a sucker play, (ka-ching for the state though)so have plenty of other things around to accomodate families and make coming to the site an entertainment option for all.

alan said...

>>How about a Disneyland type family theme park, or something like Hershey park in PA or something Six Flags would do?

Well, there you go. Don't know if there's really enough room for something like that, but the point is that I think it would have to be something more than a hotel with a shopping mall and Jackie Mason performing to be a true "destination" spot.

El Angelo said...

A theme park isn't really a bad idea, but it's probably not realistic, between the lack of room and all the NIMBY concerns that would come with it.

Anonymous said...

400 plus acers seems like a lot of room to co-habitate with a racetrack and backside? What is NIMBY?

Anonymous said...

NIMBY: Acronym for Not In My Backyard.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a horse park/retirement facility/equine education/museum aspect added to the "Disneyland" concept might get the project past the NIMBY concerns?