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Saratoga City Council unanimously opposes casino gaming
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Saratoga Springs City Council voted unanimously in favor of a non-binding resolution opposing "the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act as it relates to a destination resort casino being placed in the city..."
The 5-0 vote followed close to three hours of public comment and a speech from Mayor Joanne Yepsen, who said she has dealt questions and concerns regarding casinos on a daily basis for three months and is ready to move on to several other important city items that demand her attention. She urged anyone with concerns about a casino being placed in the city to take those concerns to the state. On March 12, the state's Gaming Commission is expected to appoint a five-member gaming facility location board. Local governments have no veto power over whatever decisions that board makes.
In November, a little less than 60% of voters in the city and Saratoga County voted against changing the state constitution to allow for the creation of up to seven casinos in New York. That result does nothing to prevent a casino from being placed in the county.
Among the reasons commissioners expressed opposition:
- risk of adverse effects without agreements and partnerships with the city
- risk of the sale or transfer of a casino gaming license
- possibility a casino could supplant downtown economic activity
- inadequate protection of the horse racing industry
- no guarantee of sustained revenue from the state to the city could disrupt city budget and services