Some East Greenbush residents oppose casino project - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Some East Greenbush residents oppose casino project

Posted: Updated: Apr 28, 2014 03:34 PM
EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. – One week after the Saratoga Casino and Raceway proposed a new destination resort casino for Rensselaer County, the idea is receiving opposition.

Plans were pitched on April 22, and the Town of East Greenbush submitted the $1 million 
application fee without public input.

The owners of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway are hoping to build a $300 million resort casino in the town. However, some in the community are not happy about the idea.

town has already unanimously approved the $300 million project, which would be located on Thompson Hill Road near Exit 9 of I-90.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway owners, who previously called the idea a ‘game changer’, would build a 100,000 square foot casino featuring world class gaming, dining, and entertainment, along with a hotel and high end retail.

Stephen Hayford, the chairman of ‘No Casinos in the Capital District’ said having a casino in the Capital Region will ultimately send the wrong message to the community.

“If somebody’s inclined to develop an addictive behavior, related to gambling and there’s a casino two miles from their house, that’s very different from having a casino that is 100 miles away. And so it encourages and promotes addiction and it gets the state and local governments involved in perpetuating and fostering that addiction,” said Hayford. 

Hayford also said a casino would create an improper relationship between the government and the public, in which the government would be preying on its own people instead of supporting them.

Daniel Plaat is an organizer for Occupy Albany and said that he does not support the proposal because he believes casinos are not economically successful in the long term.

“Casinos themselves, as I call them, are inequality factories. They take in money, the depend on very few amount of gamblers for their revenue, and simply transfer it to the owners and it doesn’t really give back a lot,” said Plaat.

Tim Kennedy, who has been an East Greenbush resident his entire life, said he knows the character makeup of the area and does not believe his hometown is ready for a casino.

“I think a development like that would take years of planning and Route 4’s already kind of overdeveloped as it is. The town, East Greenbush doesn’t even have a town planner right now or a town engineer so those are two other questionable practices by the town government as well,” said Kennedy.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to the Town of East Greenbush Supervisor Keith Langley, the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, and the NYS Gaming Commission for comment. However, all three were unresponsive or had no comment.

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