Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs Inc. will partner in bidding for the Capital Region’s commercial casino license to build a $300 million world-class destination resort casino in the Town of East Greenbush.
Churchill Downs Inc. owns and operates the world-renowned Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the Kentucky Derby.
The owners of Saratoga Casino and Raceway — formally Saratoga Harness Racing LLC — have also filed an application fee for a casino in Newburgh, south of Albany, but Churchill is not a partner on that application.
The state gambling commission received a total of 22 applications (two from Saratoga Harness Racing LLC) for the four casino licenses.
“Saratoga Casino and Raceway could not be more excited about partnering with Churchill Downs Incorporated,” said James D. Featherstonhaugh, secretary and chief legal officer of Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “Our organizations both come from a horse racing heritage and have a combined two centuries of proven gaming experience. With this partnership, we look forward to a shared future in creating jobs and growing the Capital Region economy.”
“Churchill Downs Inc. is thrilled to expand our presence in New York state through our partnership with Saratoga Casino and Raceway,” said Bill Carstanjen, president and chief operating officer. “Together we’ll deliver a destination resort casino that will create reliable revenues for the entire Capital Region, generate thousands of jobs, and be best positioned to keep New York gaming dollars in New York.”
The partnership “formalizes a legendary partnership that will deliver game changing results for the Capital Region. The $300 million proposed Casino at East Greenbush will provide the greatest impact for the regional economy,” the groups said in a news release.
Officials said the major private investment will use no public funds or government supported tax breaks. It will create 1,700 construction jobs,1,700 permanent good paying jobs with benefits, thousands of additional jobs in the community and region, and long-term opportunities for minority and women owned businesses and veterans.
Officials said it would also help to keep taxes low and support local needs with $24.1 million annually for the Capital Region, in addition to $5.7 million annually for both the town of East Greenbush and Rensselaer County.
Located on East Greenbush’s Thompson Hill with views of the Capital District, the casino will feature world-class gaming, dining and entertainment options, including a 300-room resort style hotel; a full complement of dining options, including fine dining, casual dining and buffet; multiple entertainment venues, with a night club, sports bar and showroom; 20,000 square feet of high-end retail; and parking, with valet, plentiful covered parking and surface lots.
Churchill Downs is one of the nation’s top racing, gaming and entertainment companies, with myriad holdings, including five racetracks, six casinos; TwinSpires.com, an online wagering company; a video poker business; a poker media and brand company; and a multi-state network of off-track betting facilities.
It employs more than 4,500 people and has physical operations in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New York and Ohio.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway boasts a $15 million annual payroll and 630 employees at its Saratoga Springs facility. It traces its history to June 1941 with the start of harness racing at the nation’s third oldest harness track. Today, Saratoga Casino and Raceway operates gaming, racing and entertainment venues in three states, including Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Colorado, Ellis Park in Kentucky and the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Resort in Saratoga Springs.
Final applications are due to the state no later than June 30. Announcement of the successful bidders will be in the fall.