Legislature supports casino plan

FONDA-The Montgomery County Legislature is supporting the development of the Howe Caverns Casino.

In an 8-1 vote, the legislature approved a resolution to support the project in Schoharie County, instead of one in Rensselaer County.

District 5 Legislator Terry Bieniek said legislators cited the potential for more job growth in Montgomery County.

According to Bieniek, Mark Kelly, District 1 legislator, voted against the proposal. Kelly was unavailable for comment this morning.

The New York State Gaming Commission is considering casino proposals for three regions in the state – ultimately planning to allow four total to be constructed.

Currently, four casinos are proposed in the Capital Region. In addition to the Howe Caverns and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Rensselaer, there are casinos proposed in Schenectady and in East Greenbush.

The Hard Rock casino would have a 2,000-square-foot Capital OTB off-track betting outlet in the casino.

Capital OTB currently gives around $51,000 to Montgomery County each year. An official from OTB said the Rensselaer project could double that profit.

However, Bieniek said the Howe Caverns casino would gain more from revenue and potential job and infrastructure growth, including work-force development.

“[The developers of the Howe Caverns casino] actually did a pretty good presentation … It just sounded like a better opportunity to us and for the residents of Montgomery County,” Bieniek said.

Bieniek also said OTBs have been showing declining profits over the years.

Bieniek said the supporting resolution would become part of the casino’s application.

In August, 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 Fulton County Board of Supervisors last week supported the Rensselaer County casino proposal.