Officials make play to hear casinos’ plans

FONDA – Capital OTB President and CEO John Signor was on hand at Tuesday night’s full legislature meeting to ask Montgomery County to support the building of the proposed casino in Rensselaer County.

Earlier this month, officials with the state Gaming Commission’s New York Gaming Facility Location Board disqualified the $245 million proposal to build a casino near Thruway Exit 27 in the town of Florida and city of Amsterdam. The board citied an incomplete application as the main reason for the disqualification.

The casino was projected to bring 850 permanent casino jobs and 453 temporary construction jobs to the area according to developers.

Signor said Capital Off Track Betting has joined with the Hard Rock casino as a way to increase business and add other revenue sources. Hard Rock would have a 2,000 square foot OTB outlet in the casino, he said.

“We were concerned if we didn’t get involved in the casino action, if you will, our business would decline,” Signor said.

Signor said the casino is expected to employ about 1,000 people when it opens. He said the Hard Rock project is the largest in the Capital Region group, with about $260 million in projected revenue.

Signor said they were coming before the board because they “want to win,” and community support is part of the approval process.

Signor said Capital OTB currently gives around $51,000 to Montgomery County each year and thinks that the Rensselaer casino could potentially double that amount.

Several county legislators said they were hesitant to support the project without hearing from representatives involved with the other casino proposals in the Capital region.

Casinos are also being proposed in Schenectady, Howes Cavern and East Greenbush.

Legislators agreed to hold off on approving the resolution until after they had given a chance for other casino hopefuls to come and address the legislature.

The legislature will hold a special meeting Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. to allow other proposed casinos’ representatives to make support proposals.

Signor said Capital OTB will also be asking the Fulton County Board of Supervisors for its support.