By a unanimous 5-0 vote, the City Council of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., passed a resolution Tuesday evening voicing its opposition to the proposed placement of a destination resort casino within its municipal limits.
While several reasons are set forth as forming the basis for rejection of full blown casino gaming in the city, the council particularly expressed its concerns regarding how the construction of a casino pursuant to current state legislation would have a severe adverse impact on the horse racing, and specifically harness racing,as well as breeding industries.
The council recognized that both Saratoga Race Course and the Saratoga Harness Track are nothing short of historic, and that they form the local foundation forindustries that are critical to the regional economy and supply a significant amount of jobs, tax revenue, financial activity and tourism, as well as acres of open space through horse farms.
In expressing opposition to the casino legislation, the Council indicated. "That the horse racing industry, including but not limited to: trainers, breeders, horsemen, and fans are not given adequate protection to ensure that the support of harness racingand the businessesthat support it, can continue to operate successfully in our City..."
The Saratoga resolution mirrors the concerns of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, who view casino expansion in the Catskills under present state legislation as a death-knell to harness racing in the region, as well as the state. Without any meaningful protection, the sport will simply vanish, along with all of the economic, tax, tourism and green space citizens of New York presently enjoy. (Empire State Harness Horsemen's Alliance)