Saratoga County

Racino readies for big announcement

Saratoga Casino and Raceway plans to announce an investment in the tens of millions of dollars on Tu

Saratoga Casino and Raceway plans to announce an investment in the tens of millions of dollars on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the announcement.

Plans have not yet been made public and no paperwork has been filed with the city, but earlier this week the racino sent out an advisory for a “major news” announcement on Tuesday. The event will feature a presentation, and tourism industry professionals will be in attendance.

Racino Vice President of Marketing and External Affairs Rita Cox declined to comment for this story.

The Saratoga racino, which currently hosts harness racing and electronic gambling, is vying for a license to operate more lucrative live-table games.

A constitutional amendment that would allow seven non-Indian live-table casinos is now under consideration by the state Legislature, and a statewide referendum is expected this fall.

The complicating factor is where the live-table casinos would go, with multiple siting plans under consideration. In all of the plans submitted so far, it’s possible for the Saratoga racino to be awarded a license to operate live-table games. Some plans, like one advanced by local state legislators, specifically award live-table games to the Saratoga racino.

In January of last year, the racino laid out plans for a $37.65 million expansion of their operation, including an 80,000-square-foot hotel and 25,000-square-foot event space, if live-table games were located there.

The project was expected to take about 15 months to complete and increase the racino’s workforce — now at more than 600 employees — by almost 400 positions in hotel, gaming and restaurant operations.

The expanded operation was expected to increase the racino’s support for state education, which was about $76 million in the most recent fiscal year, by about $16 million annually.

A few months after the proposed expansion was announced, James Featherstonhaugh, director at the racino and president of the New York Gaming Association, which represents the state’s nine racinos, said plans could move forward without live-table games.

Featherstonhaugh added the caveat that the possibility of a casino with live-table games being located nearby, whether in Massachusetts or the Capital Region, might force the racino to reassess its plans.

In 2012, the racino attracted more than 2 million visitors, which made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Capital Region.

The site is open 19 hours a day and has 1,700 electronic gaming machines, including versions of roulette and craps.

Tuesday’s announcement will include refreshments and is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Vapor Night Club inside the racino.

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