While the Governor did not offer specific locations in his announcement, he did say the Capital Region is likely to be a future casino site if the referendum passes. For elected officials in Saratoga Springs, where gambling is already an economic engine, the lack of details is cause for concern. YNN's Matt Hunter reports.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo offered few specifics Thursday when it came to selecting the sites of future casinos in New York State.
"We are proposing three projects out of six regions in the state," Governor Cuomo said.
Under the proposal, one casino would be placed in each Upstate New York region where an Indian casino doesn’t already exist: the Southern Tier, Hudson Valley and Capital Region.
"We need more specifics,” Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said. “I'm certainly not ready to vote for this right now and it seems like once again the Governor wants to go solo. It's his way or the highway."
While the Capital Region is one of the targeted areas, many local officials have long been urging the Governor to identify specific locations in advance, hoping Saratoga's Casino and Raceway will be the chosen site.
"Our proven track record here in the city on VLT operation is beyond question,” Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said. “To not recognize what that would mean to benefit the state in general, I think that's being short sighted."
The fear among local officials is that placing a casino within driving distance to the racino would rob the entity of its customers and revenue stream.
While the Governor hinted racinos might have an advantage in the selection process, locals still want to hear more.
"Some could argue they're in good shape for the competition since they already have local community ties, they already made a local investment," Governor Cuomo said during his announcement.
"When he talks about ‘probably’ or probabilities, I don't want to hear that,” Tedisco said. “Governor, we want to hear specifics."
"It's a good step in the right direction but not enough information," Johnson said.
Under the current proposal, none of the new casino revenue would benefit the thoroughbred industry, something else local leaders would like to see changed before it's put up for a vote.
"I think the people have got to be a part of this and he's got to be more specific because I'm certainly not going to vote for regions when I know they may compete against my racino and the thoroughbred track," Tedisco said.