Final casino pitch, hearings scheduled

Developers proposing casinos across upstate New York will have one last chance to show off their pro

Developers proposing casinos across upstate New York will have one last chance to show off their proposals to the state Gaming Commission and the public next month.

In September, the Gaming Commission will host two days of public presentations and three days of public hearings in the Capital Region, Hudson Valley and Southern Tier — where four casino licenses will be awarded in the fall.

Each of the 17 casino applicants — four in the Capital Region — will give a 45-minute presentation about their proposals between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sept. 8 and 9 in Meeting Room 6 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. The order of applicant presentations will be announced as the dates approach.

After each presentation, the Gaming Facility Location Board — a five-member panel tasked with awarding the casino licenses — will have 15 minutes to ask questions about the projects.

People who plan to attend the presentations should arrive no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and for those who cannot attend, the event will also be livestreamed on the Internet and a video of each presentation will be archived on the Gaming Commission’s website,

Then, on Sept. 22, a public hearing will be hosted by the Gaming Commission for local residents to comment on casino gambling and specific casino proposals in the region. The public hearing will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 205 Wolf Road in Colonie. The Gaming Commission said it chose the Holiday Inn because the city of Albany is not being pitched for a casino.

There will also be public comment events in the Hudson Valley on Sept. 23 and the Southern Tier on Sept. 24. The Hudson Valley event will be held at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, and the Southern Tier event will be held at the Hotel Ithaca in Ithaca.

Like the presentations earlier in the month, for those people who cannot attend the public hearings, the events will be livestreamed and later archived on the Gaming Commission’s website.

During the Gaming Facility Location Board’s meeting Thursday evening, the proposed casino project in Montgomery County was disqualified due to a lack of materials submitted in the developer’s application. That leaves four casino projects vying for a casino license in the Capital Region — Cobleskill, East Greenbush, Rensselaer and Schenectady. The Gaming Commission recently released redacted applications with more details about each proposal.

• In Cobleskill, Michigan developer Michael Malik and Nevada-based casino operator Full House Resorts are proposing a $450 million project at Howe Caverns, called Howe Caverns Resort and Casino. The project also includes two hotels, two waterparks, restaurants and other amenities.

• Saratoga Harness Racing and Churchill Downs of Kentucky are pursuing development of the proposed Capital View Casino and Resort on Thompson Hill in the town of East Greenbush. Plans include a 100-room hotel, a steakhouse operated by Mazzone Hospitality and a 500-seat events center.

• Hard Rock International is looking to open a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at de Laet’s Landing in the city of Rensselaer, a 24-acre property along the Hudson River across from downtown Albany. The project includes plans for a Hard Rock Cafe and other facilities branded with the company’s popular name.

• Rotterdam developer the Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming of Chicago are pitching the former Alco site off Erie Boulevard in Schenectady as the home for the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor. The three-phase, $450 million project includes plans for apartments, hotels, restaurants and retail, which would transform the 60-acre site into a waterfront community.

The applications released to the public had redacted information, with some applicants opting to redact more than others. Information hidden from the public includes business plans, financial statements and labor contracts.

The Gaming Commission treated the applications as public records, with exemptions allowed pursuant to the state Freedom of Information Law. But members of the Gaming Facility Location Board said Thursday they would review the applications to determine whether the redactions were appropriate. If there were discrepancies, they would be resolved through the legal process.

The Gaming Facility Location Board will award each region at least one casino license, with one region receiving two. Sites will be chosen sometime in the fall, with casinos up and running within a year or two after receiving a license.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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