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Gaming group leader confident about racino expansion

By Lombardo David
Friday, June 8, 2012

An expansion of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway could be in the works, even without live table gaming at the location, says a statewide lobbyist.

James Featherstonhaugh, president of the New York Gaming Association, which represents the nine state racinos, told attendees at a Business Council of New York meeting today that he believes the planned hotel and facilities expansion at Saratoga "will at some point move forward." He then added the caveat that if the site is not awarded live table games and it is forced to compete with a full-scale casino nearby, whether in Massachusetts or the Capital Region, the Saratoga racino might have to reassess whether it still wanted to go ahead with its planned $40 million expansion.

A spokeswoman for the Saratoga racino didn't immediately respond for comment. The Saratoga racino's announcement of the expansion earlier this year had appeared to hinge on the site being approved for live table games.

Over in Sullivan County, though, there are plans for expanding an existing racino without assurances that it will be chosen for live table gaming. At the Business Council meeting, Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce President Terri Ward said of the Monticello expansion, "We would love to have [live table] gaming and they're going to build the facility as if they got the approval, but they're moving forward regardless"

Featherstonhaugh noted that all nine racinos have plans for live table gaming, even though an amendment moving through the state Legislature only authorizes live table gaming at seven sites. He said they were lobbying to change this proposal.

A full story on Featherstonhaugh's remarks will be in Saturday's edition of The Daily Gazette.

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