Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Albany Leaders Hope to Benefit Off Local Casino

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Albany/HV: Albany Leaders Hope to Benefit Off Local Casino
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The city of Albany will not be getting a casino license when the New York State Gaming Commission decides where to put four casinos around the state, but it doesn't mean the Capital City won't see any revenue from a possible nearby casino. Reporter Jon Dougherty has the details.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Months after the E-23 casino proposal was taken off the table, the city of Albany remains a player in casino talks, albeit an outside one.

"I think we hold a lot of weight in terms of the effect that it could have on a proposal," said Carolyn McLaughlin, Albany Common Council President.

McLaughlin said Monday Albany leaders have talked with officials in Rensselaer and East Greenbush about a revenue package. Both are locations where casino proposals are still active. The revenue agreement would be in exchange for Albany's support and would potentially bolster casino applications to the State Gaming Commission.

McLaughlin said in the agreement the city wanted a guarantee of construction jobs, permanent jobs, and other services to be done through Albany.

"These are the kinds of things that we put on the table but we have not received anything to say that they are willing to do that," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said as of Monday morning, the city had only received a verbal offer from Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer for a guarantee of $1 million a year for 10 years. She said the offer was skeptical because it didn't come from officials at Hard Rock, the developer of the possible Rensselaer site.

Rensselaer City Council President Brian Stall also said he and other Rensselaer City Council members were left in the dark on the process.

"There are a lot of questions, both around that proposals and other things," said Stall. "You keep hearing about less and less revenue all around so that definitely would be a major issue and concern if it's a guaranteed dollar amount."

"We want to have some assurance that, yes, should this casino land in East Greenbush, should this casino land in Rensselaer, this is the benefit that Albany will receive, not might receive," McLaughlin said.

Dwyer declined to comment on a potential revenue agreement.A spokesperson for Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said she was unavailable for an interview.

McLaughlin said the issue might be discussed at Monday night's Common Council Meeting.

McLaughlin said, if a deal is to be reached, it needs to be soon because casino applicants have to present to the Gaming Commission Board on September 8 and 9.

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