ALBANY, N.Y. – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan agrees to a non-exclusive commitment with the proposed East Greenbush casino.
Sheehan announced Wednesday a ten-year revenue sharing agreement with Capital View Casino and Resort. As part of the agreement, if East Greenbush is awarded a gaming license, Capital View Casino and Resort will provide $1 million a year to the Capitalize Albany Corporation, a non-profit organization that implements programs and resources to create, retain and attract business in the city of Albany.
The New York State Gaming Commission Site Selection Board has been charged with determining where four upstate casinos will be located. Economic impact for the region is 70 percent of the criteria, and the partnership between East Greenbush and Albany is supposed to highlight that impact.
“We all know that the city of Albany is struggling, that we have a deficit, and that our operating budget is stressed,” Sheehan said. “We have to be able to invest in the future of the city and to invest in growth and economic development downtown.”
The non-exclusive agreement would guarantee Albany is targeted for 25 percent of the casino’s new jobs, and transportation for those workers would be provided.
East Greenbush Town Supervisor Keith Langley said the annual $1 million will not come from tax payers but from the developer’s revenue.
“This protects the tax payers of East Greenbush while laying the foundation for economic partnership,” Langley said.
Rensselaer has also been in talks with Albany about a partnership.
“I continue to extend an invitation to Rensselaer to get more specific,” Sheehan said.
But Sheehan thinks Rensselaer hasn’t done enough, yet.
“It’s not any form of what I would characterize as a firm offer,” she said.
Sheehan said Rensselaer has not made any promises, and it won’t do so unless Albany exclusively endorses Rensselaer. Sheehan also said Rensselaer has not shown how it will help the economy of nearby communities.
“For it to have such a strong application, I think it will need to demonstrate what it is going to do just as the Capital View Casino has done,” she said.
But Sheehan is not ruling out the possibility of a future agreement with Rensselaer.
“We stand ready to have similar conversations with the operator in Rensselaer,” she said.
The Albany Common Council hasn’t voiced support for any casino project thus far. They are expected to consider the proposal.
Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer was not available for comment.