OTB seeks county support for Rensselaer casino site

On the heels of Montgomery County’s disqualification as a potential site for a casino, the president of Capital District Regional Off-Track Betting made a pitch to county legislators Tuesday asking them to support another location.

But legislators said they wanted to wait until they had all the facts.

John Signor came to Tuesday’s meeting and asked county legislators to support efforts to place a casino in Rensselaer County. He said increased OTB revenue from that site would benefit Montgomery County financially. Both Montgomery and Rensselaer counties are part of the 11-county Capital Region OTB. Signor said he wanted resolutions of support from all member counties in time for a presentation to the state Gaming Commission Sept. 8.

OTB and Hard Rock Entertainment, developers of casinos, cafes and similar operations, are proposing to develop a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on the Rensselaer County site, Signor said.

District 6 Legislator John M. Duchessi Jr; sponsored the resolution of support, and District 5 Legislator Terry Bieniek seconded the measure. However, both removed their sponsorship after other legislators expressed concern.

“Without hearing from other competitors [for the casino site], I don’t find it appropriate,” District 4 Legislator Ryan B. Weitz said.

“I think it’s premature after what happened in Montgomery County,” District 8 Legislator Joseph M. Isabel said.

“Ryan [Weitz] is right,” County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said. “I too, like Ryan, want to learn more about the other sites.”

District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush, chairman of the legislature, said he would call a special meeting to reconsider the resolution in time for the Sept. 8 deadline. The session is scheduled for 5 p.m. Seot. 3, just before Ossenfort’s budget presentation at 6 p.m.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.