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Applicants File For New York Casino License

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

With high-profile casino projects in East Greenbush and Albany competing for New York’s sole casino license for the Capital Region, casino advocates from smaller communities also have high hopes.

The Howe Cave Development Corp., the organization working to establish Howe Caverns as a resort casino location received confirmation Wednesday that its $1 million application fee for a casino license has been received by New York’s gaming commission.

Chris Tague is a spokesman for the group hoping to build the resort at its location located about 40 miles from Albany...

“Like we said from the beginning, we’re committed to make this happen,” said Tague. “We feel that under the governor’s criteria that under this program Schoharie County fits the bill and there’s no better place than Howe’s Caverns to make this a reality.”

In March, the Schoharie County board of supervisors approved a measure in support of siting a casino at Howe Caverns. Support from a local government body is a key component under the state’s Request For Applications for a casino license.

Other organizations have also submitted their application materials, including Rochester-based developer David Flaum, who seeks to build a resort-style casino and waterpark at Exit 23 in Albany, and the owners of Saratoga Casino and Raceway, looking to build a 100,000-square foot facility in Rensselaer County’s East Greenbush off Route 4.

Last week, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of a plan in neighboring Montgomery County to site a casino on a 512-acre parcel in the town of Florida and City of Amsterdam.

The project had previously gotten the approval from Montgomery County officials, though the two counties have been working to find ways to collaborate and promote economic development together.

Fulton County Administrator Jon Stead…

“We’ve operated a community college together for many, many years. But more in recent years we’re trying to work on economic development initiatives and community development initiatives together,” said Stead. “So given that Montgomery County is the next closest locale, and job creation is very important to our community, the Board of Supervisors felt it made sense to endorse the Montgomery County location as the best location in the Capital District.”

Ken Rose, Montgomery County’s economic development director, confirmed that an application was filed for the site located off Route 30.

News that Saratoga Casino and Raceway is abandoning prospects to expand its existing facility in the Spa City to instead focus on locations in East Greenbush and further south in Newburgh left supporters of a project in the region upset.

Preston Jenkins, supervisor of the Town of Moreau, said he was disappointed the operator did not show any interest in building on Mount McGregor.

“I think It was disappointing that Saratoga organization is going to East Greenbush. They could have went to the mountain at McGregor and accomplish the same thing,” said Jenkins. “My personal feeling is it’s a great site, and I don’t know what will happen to it now.”

The site is home to a medium-security prison in the process of closure, with the last of the 1,200 inmates at the facility  transferred out in recent days.  In addition to the many town residents who were employed at the Mount McGregor prison facility, many residents in the northern Saratoga County community are employed at General Electric’s Fort Edward plant, which is slated for closure next January.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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