HOWES CAVE, N.Y. – Local business owners hope to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to their Schoharie County tourist attraction.
The owners of Howe Caverns say that they have more than 300 acres that are undeveloped. They suggest that building a resort style casino on their property would be a great addition. They've already received approval from Schoharie County to put in a water park and dinosaur canyon but say they've got space for a casino as well.
"Our intent is to keep Howe Caverns in tact," manager William Gallop said. "Howe Caverns will not change. It will still be a family destination. We have 330 acres that surround Howe Caverns that's an approved plan development district that we're hoping a developer would have interest."
Gallop said he admits its a little late to express interest in a casino, but the debates in Saratoga County have opened a window.
"Once Saratoga started having their issue about expanding their casino, we thought, you know, we have a perfect location," he said.
Gallop called it economic development, and a casino would help the nearby town of Cobleskill and the surrounding area.
"We have Oneonta, Cooperstown, the Baseball Hall of Fame half an hour away. Albany is a half hour. We're an hour from Saratoga, so we don't think we'd compete with the business they have with their casino," he explained. "Amsterdam, Schenectady, Albany all a half hour away from our location, again, which is right off the highway. No location right now in New York State. Even the sites that they're looking at have a view like we have, overlooking the Helderberg Plateau."
Last month the County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution against a casino, but now say they'll reconsider changing their stance. Cobleskill supervisor Leo McAllister expressed concern about a casino.
"When I grew up in the forties and fifties, gambling was illegal, and it just seems foreign to me that it's okay for government sponsored gambling," he said.
Gallop and the Howe Caverns owners are meeting with supervisors and other elected officials in an attempt to change their minds.
"We're hoping some developers make the visit out here to Howe Caverns and see what we have to offer," Gallop said.