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Saratoga Casino to take part in bidders conference despite lack of support

Updated: 04/11/2014 5:15 PM
Created: 04/11/2014 3:04 PM WNYT.com
By: Mark Mulholland

SARATOGA SPRINGS - If you believe Saratoga is in fact the "graveyard of favorites," there appears to be a new upset to add to the famed list.

The successful Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which has churned out millions and millions of dollars for the state since it opened a decade ago, was considered the favorite for a full-fledged casino in the Capital Region. It had the track record, location and facility to make it the front runner.

But it didn't have support of the community.

It's that deficiency that appears to make the casino an also ran before the race begins.

This is the language from the first two sentences of the state's request for applications:
"…each Applicant must submit… a resolution passed by the local legislative body of its Host Municipality supporting the application. For this requirement, local support means a post-November 5th resolution…supporting the Application."

But Saratoga has just the opposite. The City Council last month passed a resolution opposed to table-games expansion at the Casino.

NewsChannel 13 asked Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen Friday morning if there is anything that the casino can do to convince her to bring a resolution back to the council.

The mayor replied, "It's not convincing me, it's convincing the public. It's convincing the community. This community sentiment was expressed I feel, very fairly and very openly on the March 4th resolution. We've got unanimous support from the City Council."

But the Casino is still technically in the race, planning to take part in a mandatory bidders' conference.

The spokesperson for the casino wasn't available for an on-camera interview Friday, but did confirm that they are putting up the $1 million to take part in the mandatory applicant's conference on April 30.

SAVE, the group opposed to expansion in Saratoga, says they're wasting their money.

"I believe that they are," said Sara Boivin. "This community has spoken very strongly. The City Council has spoken very strongly. We're not sending mixed messages."

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