The battle has been joined in Saratoga, where a pro-casino group has emerged in response to the anti-casino SAVE group that we wrote about recently. Destination Saratoga is the name of the new outfit, and if you think of have a notion of who is behind this, you're probably right.
Destination Saratoga is a coalition of local officials, business leaders, small business owners, community members, and....... [ellipsis added by the blog administrator for effect]......Saratoga Casino and RacewayAh, yes. Well, you didn't think that the harness track and its part-owner, and New York Gaming Association president, James Feathersilversteinamorenohaugh were going to take this sitting down, did you?
Here's their website, and their pitch is particularly insidious because it not only touts the economic benefits of jobs and potential revenue streams which they claim would result from what they call an "incremental expansion at a casino that has operated for decades, with a long-standing track record of responsible gaming," but it also details all of the horrible things that will happen to the town if the casino slated for the Capitol region goes to someone else.
Q: What happens if the casino is built elsewhere in the Capital Region or goes to a developer other than Saratoga Casino and Raceway?And here we go. I mean, where should we start? Well, for one thing, I don't think that any gambling facility that is open from 9AM until 4AM every day of the year falls under the label of "responsible gaming." That's just nonsense, ridiculous. And "a casino that has operated for decades?" IT OPENED IN 2004!!! No, nobody is going to build a behemoth Las Vegas-style casino in the community, assuming that the harness track would keep its pledge not to. If Saratoga is chosen as the site, it will obviously be located there and not awarded to someone else. I wouldn't classify an alternate location such as, for example, Rensselaer as being in the community. And the threat of job losses is just that; a threat, and a bullying and blustering one at that by the employer with the power to make that decision. And the small matter that the referendum was soundly defeated in the city of Saratoga Springs? The question is actually raised on the FAQ page, and then totally ignored. Because they don't care what the people decided.
A: If the license for our region is granted to another developer, an out-of-state operator opening a behemoth Las Vegas-style casino in our community is a strong possibility. The residents of Saratoga don’t want that, and neither do we. If the casino goes elsewhere, then Saratoga Springs will not only miss an opportunity to reap the benefits, but our existing tourist attractions will actually be hurt by the competition. Saratoga Casino and Raceway will likely have to reduce its workforce – by as many as 240 jobs – and the City of Saratoga Springs would be in jeopardy of losing up to $700,000 and Saratoga County up to $240,000 annually.
As usual, we have, on one side, a grassroots movement talking from the heart about their concerns, based on real experiences in other locales, about the effect of a full-scale casino on their historic community and the local businesses therein. And then, on the other side, we get the cynical bullshit from the guys with the money who want more. As I've been saying, I believe that this thing is in the bag for the harness track. But Jimmy Feathers is going to do what he can to sway public opinion, even if that takes threats and downright lies! Opeated for decades, seriously man, gimme a break.
- Got in my email box the other day a link to this letter from Phil Langley, the president of the US Trotting Association, to Alex Waldrop, the NTRA president, in his Chairman hat at Racing Medication and Technology Consortium. The gist of the letter, citing the frequency with which harness horses race and the different medication needs as a result, is that the existing rules for the use of clenbuterol and corticosteroids for standardbreds should not be changed because of the
We certainly agree that Thoroughbreds need to be very careful in what they administer because history shows that breed of horse is very susceptible to catastrophic breakdowns.Ouch.
Nonetheless, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved the standards set by Mid-Atlantic Uniform Medication Reform, and did so across all the breeds, which does not make the harness guys there happy at all.