In a presentation Jan. 18, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais urges the Warren County Board of Supervisors to consider co-sponsoring a study of the local impact of hosting a gambling casino in Lake George or elsewhere in the county.
A towering casino with many thousands of gamblers streaming into Lake George Village for a quick profit and glitzy entertainment is a concept again in the limelight.
County and local municipal officials have renewed talk of studying the regional impact of casino gambling, following Gov. Cuomo’s recent speech suggesting that three destination casinos could be located upstate.
Lake George Mayor Blais lobbied the Warren County Supervisors Jan. 18 to jointly sponsor a study of casino gambling and its consequences.
“The gambling train is coming through Warren County, and we can sit and watch it go by, or we can consider it and get on board if we so decide,” Blais told county supervisors at their January board meeting.
He said that potential impacts of hosting a casino — including employment opportunities, family life, household income, housing, crime and law enforcement, sales tax revenue, environmental and infrastructure concerns — should all be thoroughly studied.
“We need to be equipped to make intelligent decisions, because the potential revenue and income is enormous,” he said.
Glens Falls Ward 5 Supervisor Bill Kenny suggested that before Warren County fund a study, which might cost $25,000 to $75,000, that county officials determine whether lake George indeed has viable prospects to be named as a site, considering that nearby Saratoga Springs is a top upstate candidate.
“I’d like some assurance first that we’re in the hunt,” he said.
The other county supervisors agreed with his suggestion.
County supervisors asked state Assemblyman Dan Stec of Queensbury to inquire among state officials about Lake George’s prospects as a casino location.
Blais suggested that a steering committee of local citizens, business owners, municipal leaders and Chamber of Commerce officials be formed to spearhead consideration of a casino in Lake George.
New Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty proposed that the county Occupancy Tax Committee consider the idea of co-sponsoring a study on casino gambling — and that bed tax money might be allocated to bankroll it.
While talk of hosting a casino in Lake George has emerged repeatedly, the owners of Roaring Brook Ranch Resort on state Rte. 9N have been pursuing the concept of developing one on their property. In September, representatives of the resort made a presentation to the county board.
Proponents of siting a casino in Lake George have mentioned a price tag of about $1 billion for developing a full-fledged destination attraction. Opponents of the concept have warned of the negative consequences of a gambling casino on family life, area crime, traffic and infrastructure.
Gov. Cuomo has suggested that 90 percent of a casino’s net revenue be earmarked for education in the state and 10 percent go towards local property tax subsidy.
Tuesday, Geraghty said the county would be moving forward on the casino consideration.
“Mayor Blais is absolutely correct — we need to first reach out to see if Warren County is actually in the running for a casino, and if so, we need to conduct a study on the potential impact,” he said.