Albany casino idea pitched to public by developer

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Updated: 4/16 10:58 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – A business developer wants to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to the city of Albany, and he pitched his idea during a public meeting Wednesday.

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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