Schenectady is preparing for the transformation of a former industrial area with the arrival a casino. During the planning stages, area residents are asking a lot of questions — from disputes over building designs to what's being done to address problem gambling.

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After this month’s announcement of three casinos now closer to being built in New York, officials from existing gambling operations are preparing for increased competition in a changing gaming landscape.

Empire Resorts/Montreign Resort Casino

Wednesday’s announcement by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board that it is recommending only one casino license for the mid-Hudson Valley/Catskills region means eight proposals are going home empty-handed. Sullivan County casino supporters are cheering, but there’s disappointment in Ulster and Orange Counties.

The New York State Gaming Commission's siting board says Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady should get the lone Capital Region license. At its meeting Wednesday afternoon, the board also gave the thumbs-up to the Lago Resort in the Finger Lakes region and the Montreign Resort Casino proposal in Thompson in Sullivan County.

Capital District Against Fracking

  It’s looking less and less likely that state Senators and Assemblymembers will get a pay raise as a holiday present this year, but Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers still have a number of issues they need to resolve before the year ends, ranging from the siting of gambling casinos to how to close a Thruway deficit and whether to go ahead with hydro-fracking.

On Dec. 17, New York's casino siting board may announce where the four upstate casinos will be located, and both gambling opponents and supporters are counting down the minutes. Some of the loudest opposition to a casino has come from East Greenbush in Rensselaer County, where the group "Save East Greenbush" will hear tonight from former Connecticut Congressman and casino opponent Robert Steele. Steele says the failure of the casino law repeal in Massachusetts on Election Day was not a great surprise.

Business leaders and several lawmakers in Westchester County say they oppose any casino for Orange County. They say a casino there would hurt racino operations in Yonkers.

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Less may be more when it comes to opening casinos in New York amid an increasingly competitive gambling environment.

More than a dozen contenders are proposing upstate casino projects. Developers say they've carefully studied the local market to ensure they don't overbuild.

That's a problem that's happened elsewhere as gambling options grow and customers favor casinos within a few hours' drive. This year, four casinos are closing in Atlantic City after facing increased competition from smaller casinos in nearby states like Pennsylvania.

Newburgh Elected Officials Push The Need For A Casino

Jun 23, 2014
WAMC, Allison Dunne

Two elected officials in Orange County have sent a letter to members of the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board, inviting them to tour an area they say needs a casino. At the same time, a new study is out on casinos in Sullivan County.

City of Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy acknowledged the Catskills’ need for a casino.

WAMC composite photo by Dave Lucas

Casinos top the list of issues that have been driving the area agenda. Governor Andrew Cuomo put the wheels in motion during his second State of the State address in 2012. "Let's amend the constitution. Let's do gaming right. Let's make it safe. Let's protect our people. Let's get the jobs back in New York."

The governor reasoned that building new gambling casinos would prop up New York's failing economy.   In November 2013, Cuomo's proposition was approved by voters, and  "casino chatter" has dominated the headlines ever since.