SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The upcoming Schenectady casino has officially been approved for a casino license.
The New York State Gaming Commission unanimously voted to approve the Rivers Resort and Casino in Schenectady’s Mohawk Harbor. The approval means Rush Gaming, its principals and its associates cleared background checks and met other legal and financial requirements.
Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin released the following statement upon learning of the gaming commission’s licensure decision:
“We thank the New York State Gaming Commission for its consideration and thorough review of applications, and the City of Schenectady for its continued support. We look forward to beginning construction as anticipated, to bringing jobs to the Capital Region and to making Rivers Casino and Resort a successful economic engine for the State of New York.”
The Rivers Resort and Casino was first announced as the winner of the Capital Region’s casino license in December 2014. Some construction on the project has already been started.
Many in the Electric City are hopeful the casino will change the face of Schenectady and bring new jobs and tourists to the area. The casino is expected to bring in an estimated $4 million, according to Mayor Gary McCarthy, not including tourism dollars from other Schenectady attractions such as Proctors Theatre.
But not everyone’s excited.
“Casinos only increase addictions, poverty and crime in any host community,” community activist Mohamed Hafez said.
Hafez believes the negative impacts will be detrimental to the city as well as creating new infrastructure and increasing emergency and police services.
“Nothing is actually written in black and white, and that’s our concern,” he said.
But Rensselaer County Legislator Gary Hughes said the city is prepared for the growth, and the city will have the money to account for the changes.
“There is additional revenue that comes with the project to the county and to the city so that would be more than enough to offset those added costs,” he said.
But despite the projected $4 million a year, local Green Party member David Plaat said that might not be enough.
“The tax revenue created by one-off projects like casinos or convention centers don’t seem to be enough or are incapable of being enough to provide the necessary monies to actually fix our infrastructure,” he said.
Regardless, the project is moving forward and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017.