Legislation was passed in the State Assembly that is aimed at helping Saratoga Casino Hotel compete with other casinos, particularly the new Rivers Casino about 20 miles away in Schenectady.
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner of Round Lake announced the passage of legislation she co-authored with state Sen. Kathy Marchione of Halfmoon to help the casino make capital improvements.
“By increasing the opportunity for local gaming facilities to reinvest earnings, upgrade facilities and expand, we’re helping them to remain at the forefront of a competitive gaming marketplace statewide,” Woerner said. “This bill will allow Saratoga’s casino to create new construction jobs in our area, enhance the experience of patrons and ultimately attract more visitors.”
She said under current law, smaller gaming facilities with fewer than 1,100 gaming machines are able to use 4 percent of their net wins to make capital improvements, while medium-sized facilities cannot.
The new legislation would increase the threshold for small and medium gaming facilities to 1,900 terminals to help level the playing field, Woerner said.
The current law penalizes casino operators who receive the lowest share of their gaming revenue among the operators and hinders their ability to add amenities.
The harness-racing purses, the gaming facility and the state, which gets a share of the gaming revenue for education funding, all stand to benefit, officials said.
Woerner said the casino plans to use the increased access to gaming revenue to invest in a parking garage, a feature the Schenectady casino was built already has.
There has been no word on other planned investments.