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Board Support for VLTs at Saratoga, N.Y., racetrack

24 January 2002

SARATOGA. New York –- As reported by the (New York) Times Union: "Three hours of testimony Wednesday evening didn't appear to change the minds of most of the members of Saratoga County's Board of Supervisors who back legalizing video lottery terminals at the harness track in Saratoga Springs.

"The majority of the 300 people who crowded into the hearing made it clear that they wanted the local law that will allow 750 to 1,000 of the terminals at the Saratoga Equine Sports Center. The proponents advertised their stance by wearing red buttons or paste-on white stickers.

"…Joseph Dalton, the county's leading casino opponent and president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said the state's anti-gambling forces will file a lawsuit next week to attack the constitutionality of the state legislation allowing the terminals at the state's harness tracks, along with two flat tracks and casinos.

"But before the lawsuit makes any headway, the Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt a law allowing video lottery terminals into the harness track.

"…The track and the people who earn their livelihood from it argued that the income from the terminals would save the track and help preserve agriculture in the county.

"…It's projected that $50 million in revenues would be realized from the terminals at the track. The state will take about 75 percent, with the rest going to purses and the track. Carlson said the track would make a $5 million investment to house the terminals and make other infrastructure improvements. Purses are expected to increase from $20,000 nightly to $50,000 or more.

"…Those opposing the terminals argued that they were a false form of economic development that would help neither the city of Saratoga Springs nor the county. They also said that the terminals would have severe social impacts…"

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