Saratoga sounds off on casino gambling

Posted at: 01/08/2014 10:29 AM
By: WNYT Staff

SARATOGA SPRINGS - A new era is underway in Saratoga Springs, but it begins with a familiar controversy.

The main issue up for debate wasn't even an item on the agenda.

It’s the city known for thoroughbred racing, but at Tuesday nights standing-room-only City Council meeting, people were anxious to anti up their thoughts on casino gambling.

Many of them were in favor

“If the casino goes somewhere else, to a competing venue in the Capital Region, those jobs will definitely be put at risk.”

Others were against.

“Its going to upset the quality of life and the fragile economics of our city.” 

Saratoga Raceway and Casino General Manager Skip Carlson says he’d love to expand his operation.

“And the creation of 600 to 700 jobs that it would create and also preserve the 600 to 700 jobs we currently have,” says Carlson.

But one woman says she’s concerned about the problems that come along with casino gambling.

“Why would a city that has so much going for it as Saratoga Springs does  invite those problems.”

“SAVE, what is your protest all about? We already have a casino,” says one resident.

“It is the nature of the casino industry not to care particularly for the long term health of a host community,” says another resident.

Even though Proposition 1, which expanding casino gambling in New York, passed last November, Saratoga Springs residents voted against it by 58 percent.

“Millions were spent on pro-casino advertising compared to almost none of the other side.

The City’s new Mayor thinks it will be an interesting upcoming year.

“This issue that they wanted to talk about tonight is clearly the most important issue that the city has faced in a long time. So I want to make sure every voice is heard so that I can better represent the public," says Mayor Joanne  Yepsen.

Keep in mind that it hasn’t been determined where a casino will be built in the Capital Region. What we do know, is that one will definitely be built in one of the eight counties that make up the Capital Region.