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What you need to know for 08/20/2017

Montgomery County site seen as ‘distinct’ casino choice

Montgomery County site seen as ‘distinct’ casino choice

Montgomery County is looking to join the race for a full-scale casino license in the Capital Region.

Montgomery County is looking to join the race for a full-scale casino license in the Capital Region.

Ken Rose, CEO of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, said several developers have contacted him expressing interest in building a casino at a 520-acre site in the town of Florida and the city of Amsterdam.

“Our site is a distinct choice from the others that have been out there,” Rose said. “It is a much larger casino site and the magnitude of this potential project would be much higher. We can jump-start our economy and we think the workforce is available here.”

Rose said the two developers he is in discussions with are not located in New York. He said the property, which is mostly in the town of Florida, currently has two owners and has been on the market for quite some time.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said there has been much support among county residents for a potential casino. He said the interest is encouraging to developers.

“I think the local support is a critical element of where a casino ends up in the Capital Region,” Ossenfort said. “The developers want to know that the community is there to work with them and be supportive. I have not had a single negative contact related to a casino.”

The county unanimously passed a resolution in support of a casino and is calling on Amsterdam and Florida to do the same. The Common Council and town boards will vote on the resolution at the end of the month, Ossenfort said.

“We have to ensure that the resolutions are taken up by the local boards, and we are confident they will come back in favor,” he said. “Then we will look at the process with the state and continue to work with the developers.”

The site is off Exit 27 of the Thruway and is currently used for crop farming. The price tag for the property is $5.25 million, Rose said.

Developers have been scouting potential sites for a full-scale casino in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties. Saratoga Casino and Raceway is also interested in adding live table games at its facility in Saratoga Springs.

Voters approved the constitutional amendment for casinos in November. But a majority of voters in Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady and Washington counties did not support the measure, which was pitched as an economic development initiative.

The state will establish four full-scale casinos in the Capital Region, Catskills and Southern Tier. One region would receive two casino licenses.

Ossenfort said he believes the site in Montgomery County would be an ideal location for a casino and would help spur economic activity in the area.

“One of the factors that is often misinterpreted is our location,” he said. “But it is actually one of our strong suits. We are right off the Thruway and close to some big tourism destinations. The immediate area is a rural community, but our geographic location is certainly our strength.”

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