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Around Saratoga

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Can casinos and theaters coexist?

Upstate theaters and the four proposed casinos for upstate New York can be mutually beneficial, according to New York State Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams.

The Upstate Theater Coalition, which was formed by a group of entertainment venues concerned about competing with entertainment venues at the new casinos, reiterated their concerns in a media event on Tuesday. Williams said in a statement on Tuesday that the concerns of the entertainment venues are shared by his office.

"A major goal of the Upstate New York Gaming and Economic Development Act is to enhance and grow New York’s tourism attractions, including the state's performing arts venues and arenas," he said in a statement.

"That’s why the siting criteria in the Act declares that prospective casinos should ‘establish a fair and reasonable partnership with live entertainment venues’ in the local market," Williams said. "We will work with the coalition to address all of its concerns regarding language in the RFP that ensures that no casino operator can successfully bid for a New York casino license unless it has a signed partnership agreement with live entertainment venues in the local market in consultation with the Upstate Theater Coalition. We believe any new gaming resorts must and will provide a major boost for our existing and historic live entertainment venues.”

Saratoga Springs Democratic mayoral candidate Joanne Yepsen recently suggested the casino entertainment venues could have dark days in the summer to help the existing entertainment venues, like SPAC.

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