Rensselaer city officials push to attract casinos

Posted at: 11/21/2013 5:48 PM
By: Dan Bazile

RENSSELAER -- The mayor of Rensselaer Daniel Dwyer is optimistic about the possibilities of a casino in his city. But he can only fight and hope for the best because the final decision is not up to him.

"I want this casino," Dwyer said.

He already has the perfect spot picked out. It's called DeLaet's Lancing, right on the Hudson River.

"It's shovel ready to start the building. There's no demolition. Everything is ready to go," Dwyer said.

The city council approved a resolution Wednesday night, giving the go ahead for a casino project there.

"Everybody thinks I'm dreaming. But I hope it goes. We need this," said city council member  Marion Webber.

There's only one caveat. They'll have to convince a panel that will be picked out by the New York State Gaming Commission. Remember the proposal on the ballot back on November 5th to create Last Vegas-style casinos in Upstate New York? Rensselaer was one of a few counties in our area who voted yes.

"All the communities around us and the counties voted against it," Dwyer told Newschannel 13. "I hope that's taken into consideration."

Community support, according to the Gaming Commission, only counts for a small percentage in the panel's decision. There are multiple other factors in selecting a site. Dwyer said he's working hard to make it happen because Rensselaer needs it compared to Saratoga Springs that was believed to be on the short list for the casino.

"Saratoga is an affluent city. They've got a great cash flow from the Racino, the track and everything else," Dwyer added.

He said Rensselaer has very little industry, old infrastructure and could really use the potential economic activity that comes with a casino.

"Let's face it. Each year it's a struggle to run a city. It's getting tougher and tougher. We've got a very tight budget," he said.