Developer pitches Albany casino idea to public

ALBANY, N.Y. – A business developer held a public meeting in
Albany Wednesday to pitch his idea to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to the capital
city.

Four Las Vegas-style casinos are coming to New York State, and
developer David Flaum hosted a meeting to propose bringing one of the casinos
to the city of Albany.

Flaum hopes the project will bring millions of dollars and
thousands of jobs to Albany, but the controversial issue had some meeting
attendees upset with the proposal.

Residents like Joanne Farrell oppose a casino in Albany.

“This is more crime, more drugs, more hookers, more houses broken
into,” she said.

Others were more receptive to bringing a casino to the city.

“Nobody is offering jobs. Nobody is offering opportunity for
communities that need it,” supporter Marlon Anderson said.

Flaum Management Company is partnering with Capital OTB on the
proposed project called Project E-23. Developers hope the project will bring
millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Albany. The proposed casino would
be placed right off Exit 23.

John Signor is the president of Capital OTB.

“A casino is inevitable,” he said. “It's going to happen in the
Capital Region.”

Signor expects the city of Albany and the county would each
receive $10 million of revenue a year from an Albany casino. He also believes the
project would bring 1,800 permanent jobs to the city and grow the downtown
area.

Flaum Management said the 63,000 square foot project would also bring
1,500 construction jobs.

“We want to grow downtown Albany,” Signor said. “We want to help
Albany. We want to compliment Albany.”

The proposed casino would include an indoor water park but does
not have an entertainment venue or a convention center. Albany Mayor Kathy
Sheehan said those two things aren't necessary since Albany already has those
venues.

“This is a proposal that seems to get that right,” she said.

Farrell grew up in Albany. She heard the plan but thinks it's all
smoke and mirrors.

“It's only a plan to help rich people get richer,” she said.

But Signor said the casino would only benefit the community.

“The question is where are the benefits going to end up? Who's
going to get the benefits?” he asked. “If you live in Albany County and the
city of Albany, I would think that you would want to get the benefits. You
would want to have the jobs. You would want to have the tax revenue. You would
want to have the revenue from the casino.”

The Albany City Council has not voted on endorsing a casino in the
city.

More community meetings will be held in the future. The first is
at Bishop Maginn High School on April 24 and another in the town of Bethlehem
on April 28.

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