Governor’s Proposal Benefits Rivers Casino in Schenectady

Rivers Casino in Schenectady reopened in September last year announcing significant losses due to the mandatory closing days. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal will compensate for them.

Cuomo’s budget proposal contains five items and all of them will affect the gaming industry. One of the items identifies by name three facilities. One of them is River Casino and the others are Saratoga Casino and Capital Region’s two gambling halls.

According to Cuomo’s proposal, Rivers Casino receives a suspension of the payments it is required to make to the horsemen who own and train the standardbred harness horses running at Saratoga Casino for the total time of the Covid-19 crisis. This is a guaranteed benefit for Rivers with no impact on the state tax revenue.

Proposal Benefits the Industry and the State

Three of the proposal aim to bring more money to the state. They authorize new casinos that will pay taxes, contributing to the state’s financial situation. Another upside to the proposals is that they maximize state benefit from sports betting.

A Rivers Casino representative commented: “We are encouraged that the Governor’s budget prioritizes revenue to the state, stabilization of the upstate casinos, and the preservation and creation of casino jobs. We are pleased that the Governor’s budget recognizes that casino industry jobs and revenue will contribute greatly to Schenectady’s economic recovery.”

In the meantime…

…Jeff Cantine of Ballston Spa, president of the Saratoga Harness Horsepersons Association said that Cuomo’s proposed suspension came as a surprise. He expressed SHHA’s concerns of the impact the proposal will have over its members and its community. He added: “We intend to make our voices heard and hope to work with the Executive to improve the legislation.”

Legal sports betting began in New York in 2019 but only in the four biggest state’s physical casinos and not on mobile devices. To change that, The Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee has been working on a proposal of its own.

It is different from Cuomo’s and it will open the market to Rivers and other private-sector operators, rather than make it a state enterprise.

According to committee member Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam it is important that Rivers does well so that the whole region is successful. He wants from the casino to have a shot at online operation, just as many other facilities had and it allowed them to compensate for the losses.

Rivers Casino is a successful brand that has facilities in many different states. Some of the other famous locations are in Pittsburg, Philadelhia and Des Plaines.

In 2019 Illinois lawmakers legalized sports wagering and in March 2020, Rivers Casino Des Plains took Illinois’ first legal bet.

Source: “Rivers Casino in Schenectady could benefit significantly from Cuomo proposal”, The daily Gazette, January 23, 2021

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