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Adirondack Council Praises Governor for Eliminating Adirondack Park from Contention for New Casino

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News Release

For more information:
John F. Sheehan
518-432-1770 (ofc)
518-441-1340 (cell)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Thursday, June 6, 2013

ADIRONDACK COUNCIL PRAISES GOVERNOR FOR ELIMINATING
ADIRONDACK PARK FROM CONTENTION FOR NEW CASINO

New Pacts with Iroquois-Operated Casinos North and South of the Park Forbid Development Of Competing
Facilities in 10 of the 12 Counties that Comprise Adirondack Park

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. -- The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization offered its thanks today to the Cuomo Administration for eliminating the Park from the areas that will compete for new casinos if a proposed Constitutional Amendment is approved this year.

“We are very pleased that the Governor is looking outside of the Adirondack Park for a suitable location for new casinos,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Casinos would be a poor match for the Adirondack Park. Park residents and business owners have made a conscious effort to establish the Adirondacks as a destination for family-friendly, outdoor recreation-oriented, tourism and entertainment -- coupled with sustainable natural resource management. The Governor’s actions recognize and honor that commitment.

“We remain concerned that casinos could induce poorly planned growth in places that are not prepared to handle the influx of new development and traffic in the sensitive Adirondack environment,” Janeway said.

Currently, it is illegal to operate a for-profit casino gambling facility under the New York State Constitution. Native nations are exempt from the state constitution. Governor Cuomo has said he wants the Legislature to approve a Constitutional Amendment allowing up to three non-native American casinos in Upstate New York.

Most of northern New York is inside the Adirondack Park. The 6-million-acre Adirondack Park contains 9,300 square miles of forests and waters, making it the largest park in the contiguous United States. Public lands are protected from logging and development. Unlike other parks, the Adirondack Park contains communities (130 villages and hamlets) and private property. Development is guided by a state land-use plan so that growth doesn’t harm Park’s vast forests, rare wildlife, scenic beauty and pure waters.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently approved contracts with representatives of the Mohawk and Oneida nations for revenue sharing from their existing casinos in Fort Covington, just north of the Adirondack Park, and Verona, south of the Adirondack Park.

Those agreements guarantee the nations’ exclusive rights to casino operations over large, multi-county regions of Upstate New York. Of the 12 counties that make up the Adirondack Park, all but Washington and Saratoga counties have been eliminated from contention for new casinos.

The only portion of Washington County inside the Adirondack Park is on the steep, largely undeveloped eastern shore of Lake George. It is far from the village or the resorts on the west shore, which are in Warren County.

While the western portion of Saratoga County extends into the Adirondack Park, the towns of Hadley, Edinburg, Corinth, Day and Providence are very rural and not good candidates for a massive, new casino development project.

Meanwhile, owners of the Saratoga harness horseracing track in the City of Saratoga Springs recently announced they would invest $30 million in upgrades, including a new hotel, in hopes of attracting a new casino if the Constitutional Amendment is approved.

The Governor’s recently announced agreements with the Oneida and Mohawk nations also require the Native American casinos to share revenues with the counties around them. This will increase revenue for some Adirondack communities without requiring costly, new services.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action.

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