SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A full-casino license will be granted in the Capital Region after New York voters approved the measure in November, and many want to expand a current casino rather than build a new one.
On Wednesday, community members and local business owners launched Destination Saratoga, a coalition of residents, community leaders and local businesses that support the expansion Saratoga Casino and Raceway with the help of the license.
"This is the best place, it is the best destination, and what we hope is more and more people will come to Saratoga and the entire region will come together," said Dan Hogan, Co-Chair of Destination Saratoga.
Live table games would be added to the business's already-existing electronic games and video lottery terminals. The coalition isn't asking that the race course be turned into a megalopolis Vegas style casino, they're just hoping to expand on what they already have.
Sara Boivin, of SAVE Saratoga, a community group that opposes casino gambling expansion in the Saratoga Springs explained the legislation means a large project for the area.
"The legislation actually asks for a very large accommodating casino," said Boivin. "They want hotels, restaurants, amenities. They're not looking for something moderate."
Boivin says she's not convinced the promise of some windfall of cash in the community's pocket can be kept, especially in light of slumping revenues at casinos across the country.
"The majority of residents did say they don't want one nearby," continued Boivin. "Even though it passed statewide, I think the people of Saratoga need to be respected."
The coalition has also launched a website, www.DestinationSaratoga.com, where supporters can find "the facts about how Saratoga's economy has thrived since Saratoga Casino and Raceway opened, and what the city and county stand to lose if a casino is built elsewhere in the Capital Region."
Supporters can also add their names to a growing list of community members who are joining the Destination Saratoga coalition.