Because of the presence of Saratoga Race Course in the summer, we believe most local communities are more accepting of gambling than other parts of the state.
We don’t look at it as evil, or something to be feared. After all, Saratoga is the original “August place to be,” and a trip to the racetrack is not only acceptable family entertainment, it is still one of the highlights of summer.
We know few people who shun the racetrack for ethical or moral reasons. Saratoga is as much style and history as it is daily double and pick six. The unique experience of 1890s charm has single-handedly revived the hat industry in upstate New York — at least in the summer.
The track also serves as a significant economic engine in the tourism trade.
Tourists may want to stay on the lake, but they tend to time their visits when the track is open. Those in the tourism trade will tell you August is a little bit busier because of the track.
With that in mind, we believe fewer voters in these parts will find a reason to vote against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s much ballyhooed referendum to allow up to seven Las Vegas-style casinos in the state. We also do not find any objections to changing the state Constitution with this vote.
We are further buoyed by the experience with the nearby racino in Saratoga Springs where electronic slot machines, video poker and parimutuel wagering for horse tracks around the country are allowed.
Over the years, we have seen few ill effects on Saratoga Springs or Saratoga County from Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
So we’re on board, and we believe you should be, too.
That said, we would be remiss if we did not bring up the way the state Board of Elections handled the language of the referendum that will appear on the ballot.
The state Board of Elections made last-minute changes to the language that flowered up the proposal to ensure more votes. That’s not fair, and it should have been changed to something far less subjective when challenged in court.
We believe the Legislature should review the whole dirty mess and clarify the language to something less subjective, but we won’t hold our breath.
We are also skeptical that the gambling proposition will make a dramatic improvement in any upstate economy. We don’t see the addition of a Las Vegas-style casino as the savior so many others do, but view it as another piece of the tourism puzzle.
Thankfully, the Saratoga, Lake George and Adirondack regions already have many pieces of the puzzle, and we should continue to do well, whether casino gambling is part of the future in Saratoga or not.
Allowing New York to have casino gambling will help keep tourist dollars in the state. It might even benefit the tourist shoulder seasons.
We also applaud Gov. Cuomo for the negotiations that settled decades-old disputes with Indian tribes across the state. The deals give American Indian casinos exclusive rights to certain regions of upstate, but also send a stream of revenue to the state.
Bravo on both counts.
We also like that the proposal puts a cap on the number of casinos in the state.
The state should never allow casinos to proliferate to the point where slot machines and other games are in every bar and restaurant.
Saratoga horse racing and the gambling that has gone with it has helped our region to flourish for more than a century.
While we don’t expect casino gambling to have nearly as big an impact, it will add another attraction to what is already a crowded dance card.
Voters should approve of casino gambling when they go to the polls.
Editorial endorsements represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle, Controller Brian Corcoran and citizen representative Vincent Palacino.