Saratoga Raceway, Churchill Downs team up for casino proposal

Operators of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway announced they'll team up the owners of Churchill Downs

Operators of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway announced they’ll team up the owners of Churchill Downs in Kentucky to develop a $300 million project in East Greenbush aimed at landing one of four state gaming licenses.

Churchill Downs Inc., which hosts the renowned Kentucky Derby annually, will partner with the owners of the racino to develop an application for a casino license, the two companies announced today. James Featherstonhaugh, the racino’s minority owner, said the partnership between the companies makes an already formidable proposal even stronger.

“Our organizations both come from a horse racing heritage and have a combined two centuries of proven gaming experience,” he said following the announcement at the Holiday Inn Express in East Greenbush late this morning. “With this partnership, we look forward to a shared future in creating jobs and growing the Capital Region economy.”

The companies claim the proposal for an area between Exit 8 and Exit 9 on Interstate 90 will create 1,700 jobs, both during construction and when the project is completed. They pledged the project will rely solely on private funding and not require any tax breaks or other public assistance.

“Together we’ll deliver a destination resort casino that will create reliable revenues for the entire Capital Region, generate thousands of jobs, and be best positioned to keep New York gaming dollars in New York,” said Bill Carstanjen, president and chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated.

The operators estimate the project will generate $24.1 million annually for the Capital Region, in addition to $5.7 million per year for both the East Greenbush and Rensselaer County. The project includes a 300-room hotel, several restaurants, 20,000-square-feet of retail and “multiple entertainment venues.”

Churchill Downs operates five racetracks, six casinos, and the online wagering site The company is also in the video poker business, owns a poker brand company and operates a multi-state network of off-track betting facilities.

Churchill Downs employs more than 4,500 workers and operates in 10 states.

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