NY voters approve casino expansion in state
November 06, 2013
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New York voters went to the polls Tuesday and authorized the state to license up to seven new commercial casinos, the biggest casino gambling expansion in state history. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, the margin was 57-43.
The requisite casino bill specifies that the first four of the eventual seven casinos be located in three areas: Albany/Saratoga Springs, the Catskills/Mid-Hudson Valley, and the Southern Tier near Binghamton.
Tioga Downs' owner Jeff Gural said he is ready to implement casino gaming at his track. "I intend to call the contractor in the morning and give him the go ahead to start phase one of our hotel expansion project immediately, which is the indoor parking garage part of the project so we will be creating construction jobs almost immediately," Gural told WBNG News on Tuesday night.
No casinos can located in three large geographic areas that are now home to Indian casinos under an exclusivity deal tribes and Gov. Andrew Cuomo made earlier this year. Long Island will get two VLT-only casinos that will be run by the off-track betting corporations owned by the county governments of Suffolk and Nassau counties.
Saratoga Casino & Raceway expressed its satisfaction that voters in the community passed the amendment. The track is already planning a $30 million expansion with a 120-room hotel, event space and fine dining, and new casino games could join the mix by the end of 2014.
"We are very pleased that New Yorkers recognize the important economic contributions made by the gaming industry in New York,” said Rita Cox, the raceway's vice president for marketing. "The passage of this constitutional amendment signals the beginning of our efforts to bring more good paying jobs to the Capital District, more funding for our schools and more local aid for our community. We look forward to working with the New York Gaming Commission to quickly bring the greatest possible benefits to the Capital District.”
The Saratogian newspaper reported that Saratoga Springs Supervisor Matt Veitch, who supports expanded gaming, said he wants to gauge local public opinion first before moving ahead with such plans.
"We need to hear from the City Council and county and have them work together on this,” Veitch said. "We need to sit down and figure out what we're going to do.”