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Lake George residents consider supporting casino

LAKE GEORGE -- Nearly 300 residents gathered to discuss plans to bring casino gambling to New York. The state is considering amending the constitution to allow as many as three resort-casinos in upstate. Saratoga and Essex County have expressed interest in bringing a casino if the plan moves ahead, but Warren has not decided.

“I know there's a tremendous economic opportunity to host a casino in your city but then we hear all the downsides as well. I think it’s up to us to gather as much info as we can,” said Lake George Mayor Robert Blais.

At Tuesday’s meeting, residents were mixed whether they’d welcome a resort-casino. Some expressed concern it would take away from the family atmosphere of the village that has been promoted for the last 50 years.

“Casinos don’t belong in our Village of Lake George. I feel that it's a family resort. I feel that we have other ways to pursue economic success,” said Bonnie Colome.

Several business owners and residents spoke in favor of the casino because it could help make the area a year-round destination. The 300-acre Roaring Brook Ranch is one site that is interested in adding a casino.

“We have the acreage here that the big money can come in, hopefully, and develop it into a year round operation, golf course or whatever else it might take to make a winter operation viable,” said George Greene, President and General Manager of Roaring Brook.

Attendees of the meeting were asked to cast an anonymous ballot in favor or against a casino. The results are expected to be released later this week and additional forums on casinos are expected before the county and village take a formal stance later this year.

Officials acknowledged it is unlikely the state will place more than one casino in the region. Greene hopes the county will come out in favor soon to start working on making it a reality.

“The economy here in Lake George is not good and we really do need this shot in the arm,” said Greene. “If gambling is brought in elsewhere it would hurt even more.”
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