Yes, it will have "spectacular views of the Capital District," as well as the usual entertainment, retail, and lodging options. But no water park, which I know must be a disappointment. It contains the expected promises of jobs and economic benefits, both to the state at large and the local community. And the usual BS about what they're going to do to address problem gambling, as if they really care. "We believe in a moral, social, and business responsibility to promote responsible gaming by our employees and patrons." Right. As I've said before, any facility that provides easy access to gambling at 10:00 on weekday mornings is not promoting responsible gaming. Whatever.
No less than three times in the document, we are told that the owners have "decades of gaming experience." Well, maybe I'm being too picky here. But the racino at the Saratoga harness track opened in 2004. Now I suppose that, technically, horse racing is considered to be "gaming." However, I think that we all know what the term generally refers to. That's why "racing" and "casino" are always separate links on websites. In the FAQ section on the Saratoga harness site, the answer to the question "Can I wager on horse racing from the gaming floor?" is no. Again, perhaps I'm being too cynical in this case; but the point is that the claim is rather disingenuous, and gives the impression that the owners have decades of experience running the kind of facility that they are proposing to build. Which they don't.
In a surprising development, the folks at the Saratoga harness track will be submitting plans for a second casino; this one further downstate, in Newburgh. Yeah, when we were told that James Featherstonhaugh was leaving his position at NYGA to pursue a casino, we didn't figure he'd be this busy! They will submit their proposal to the Newburgh Town Board this evening. Whether they really intend to bid for two casinos, or are just trying to ensure that they get at least one, remains to be seen. You may be relieved to know that a spokesperson said "there are no plans to pursue any other licenses in New York."
Newburgh is in Orange County, which is a contentious subject. Folks in the Catskills region had been assuming that the two licenses intended for the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region would both be sited there. However, Orange County, with its proximity to New York City, is a prime location which is attracting much interest; including from Caesars World. Potential developers further north fear that casinos there would doom their prospects; and the owners of the Empire Casino at Yonkers are not too thrilled either. There is sentiment in the state legislature against the idea too.
But State Senator John J. Bonacic, a Republican who represents the Catskills, said the casino legislation was meant to create jobs and economic activity at the north end of the region, not in more prosperous Orange County. [NYT]Empire Resorts, the owner of Monticello Raceway that is hoping to build that casino at the Concord, argues that an Orange County casino, in addition to damaging their business, would be dilutive overall to the state's revenue. “It won’t add to state revenues like a casino in Sullivan or Ulster counties." But Orange County hopefuls will counter with predictions of their own. A senior VP at Cordish which is proposing to build near Woodbury (the site of the Caesars proposal), said that a Catskills casino would be "recipe for disaster." Of course, those in Sullivan County who have, for years/decades now, been hoping for a casino to revive their economy (for whatever that may ultimately be worth) might disagree with that assessment.