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Saratoga racino owners eye different casino site

EAST GREENBUSH The owners of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway announced Monday they are no longer seeking a Vegas-style casino expansion in Saratoga Springs and will instead pursue a bid for a license in East Greenbush.

The plan is the second in Rensselaer County. The Rensselaer City Council voted in favor of a mixed-use waterfront development with a casino, but an operator was never announced.

County and town officials in East Greenbush have voted in favor of resolutions for casinos, which adds value to an application to obtain one of four licenses in the state. Rensselaer County residents narrowly voted in favor of casino legalization last November.

The proposal faces opposition from the Exit 23 project in Albany, which has been gaining traction in recent weeks. So far, more than 40 businesses have backed the plan.

East Greenbush Supervisor Keith Langley said in an emailed statement he is interested in learning more from the developer about the project to ensure it is a good fit. A potential location for the East Greenbush casino was not announced. Some business owners speculate it may go along Temple Lane near I-90s Exit 9. Many business owners anticipate it will help bring new customers to the town.

Everyone is excited about it because Rensselaer is so underused. There's so much land and development that could have been done that hasn't been done and it's a shame. If they put it in we're right across from Albany...bing 10 minutes you're there. It would be a great, great opportunity for here, said Nimi Walsh of Quigleys Food & Drink.

The Racino owners initially tried to expand its property in Saratoga Springs, but faced opposition from the community. Last month, the city council voted in favor of a resolution opposing a full casino.

It's clear that the Saratoga Casino and Raceway owners feel that Saratoga Springs does not meet the economic criteria set forth by our state legislators in the bill that passed and recognized that the majority of our citizens expressed their opposition to a full casino resort in our city, said Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen in an emailed statement. We look forward to working constructively with them and the New York Gaming Commission as the city considers their $30 million proposed expansion. Saratogians should have a say in this project just as every other important project within the city".

A $1 million application fee for a full casino license is due Wednesday. The state is expected to select four sites for a casino, including at least one in the Capital Region in the fall.