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Saratoga racino gets relief as competition heats up

Saratoga racino gets relief as competition heats up

Cuomo signs bill that amends state tax law
Saratoga racino gets relief as competition heats up
Inside Saratoga Casino Hotel.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A bill meant to level the playing field for Saratoga Casino Hotel — as gambling options grow statewide — has been signed into law.

The law, signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amends state tax law to allow the racino to use 4 percent of its net winnings to make capital improvements.

Currently, only gaming facilities with less than 1,100 gaming machines have that option. The Saratoga Springs racino, considered a medium-sized gaming facility, has just over 1,700 video gaming terminals, in addition to the harness racing track.

The law increases the threshold to 1,900.

“That small change in the formula allows them to be more competitive, and obviously it’s a way more competitive business that they’re in today than it was a year ago,” said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. 

In advocating for the bill’s passage earlier this year, state Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, said the change will help Saratoga Casino Hotel compete with Rivers Casino, which opened 20 miles south of the Spa City, in Schenectady, in February.

State Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, who co-sponsored the legislation with Woerner, said the law means “fairness for Saratoga.”

“These new investments are critical, as they will support and strengthen the facility, lead to more job creation and revenue generation, and ultimately provide additional funding for education,” she said in a prepared statement.

Officials at the racino could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

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