A proposal to expand Saratoga's Casino and Raceway to a full, Vegas-style casino has been public for months but now it seems they may have competition from within their own county. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Matt Hunter has the story.
MOREAU, N.Y. -- Since the 1970s, the towns of Wilton, Corinth and Moreau have benefited from the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility and the more than 300 jobs it provides. With the prison closing in July, Moreau Supervisor Preston Jenkins envisions a new opportunity for the surrounding 1,200 acre site: a Las Vegas-style casino.
"I know there could be problems but I think the benefit we could have in this region as a result of this could be amazing," Jenkins said Monday.
After the passage of Proposition One on Election Day, the Capital Region is set to receive one of the initial four casinos in the state. Jenkins' proposal comes months after Saratoga Casino and Raceway executives announced their own plans to enter a bid.
"I think one of the strategies the governor had in not designating a specific site was to generate competition within each region," Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said.
With an operator already in place in Saratoga, the racino's planned bid is already farther along but Jenkins says he and other town officials have had limited contact with Executives at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
"Mohegan Sun has a great location, we'd love to have them there," said Jenkins, who added they’ve yet to receive any indication that Mohegan Sun is interested in building a casino in Northern Saratoga County.
"Until operators come forward at that site, it's really just an opportunity for that community to say 'We're interested in talking with someone," Shimkus said.
A group of local leaders has also suggested merging the property into neighboring Moreau Lake State Park Regardless of the final outcome, most are determined to ensure it continues to be an economic generator.
"I suspect there will be other proposals for that site too and the town and state will have to make some pretty tough decisions," Shimkus said.
Jenkins believes a casino could add up to 1,000 new jobs.
Perhaps the town’s best advantage, 55 percent of Moreau's voters supported the casino referendum, while a majority in Saratoga did not.
"We need something to change our economic activity,” Jenkins said. “They're growing, we're not and this would certainly help us."