Saratoga to Cuomo: Build Casino Here

Feb 7, 2013

Winslow Homer drawing from August 1865 Harper's Weekly
Credit City of Saratoga Spings & WikiPedia

Saratoga City and County leaders showed up in Albany Wednesday to make a case for building a casino in the Spa city.

When he revealed his budget plan last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed permitting three casinos upstate and allowing the new Gaming Commission to recommend some specific locations.

Some legislative leaders met with Cuomo last week about the casino plan. Some recommend that at least one licensed be reserved for Southern NY.  Rochester has often talked about a casino for downtown... the Catskills and Lake George have also been mentioned as casino sites.

Local officials left Saratoga Springs Wednesday for a junket to the State Capitol, where they met with Cuomo Administration officials in the interest of getting their city to the front of the line.

Joanne Yepsen, county supervisor for Saratoga Springs, arranged the meeting. A constitutional amendment passed last year by the Legislature would allow New York to build seven casinos. If Cuomo's plan is to move forward, state lawmakers would need to approve the constitutional amendment again, and then voters would vote on it come November.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson says Wednesday's meeting with the Governor's Racing and Gaming adviser Bennett Liebman was the first in-person advocacy to have a full fledged casino be built in the city.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway has already spent over a million dollars drawing up expansion plans to include a full-casino gambling facility: Johnson and Yepsen affirmed that Saratoga is positioned to generate new revenue for the state very quickly because it already has racetracks and a racino.

Calls for comment to the Governor's office were not returned.