A closer look at potential support -- and opposition -- to an Albany casino, by ward

roulette wheel by Hakan Dahlstrom Flickr

As the wheel spins, where will the city of Albany land?

As the wheel spins on the selection process for a Capital Region casino site, the question of which communities do -- or don't -- support a casino will be a key part of the discussion because the state's selection criteria require a local resolution of support for such a project.

Already, both Rensselaer and Rensselaer County have passed resolutions in favor of a casino. And the Saratoga Springs council passed a resolution opposing (for now) a casino in the city. [TWCN] [Daily Gazette]

Now the Albany Common Council is considering a resolution in support of the E23 casino proposal for the southern edge of the city. And Albany is an interesting case because its voters pretty much split right down the middle on the state amendment to allow full casinos last fall, narrowly opposing it 51-49.

But so far, city officials have appeared to be at least generally open to considering support for the casino project. And as mayor Kathy Sheehan said after the developers backing the project made their first pitch:

"In the city of Albany it was narrowly defeated, but in many of our wards that have some of the most significant challenges economically, it passed overwhelmingly. So we need to listen to our residents. That's why we heard today that this is a process. We need to engage the public and have the public be heard."

So, this is all a long way of saying: We thought it'd be interesting to see how the vote on the state casino amendment last fall shaped up in the city of Albany by ward. We pulled the numbers, and they're after the jump as a map and table with a few notes.

Map

The deeper the shade of green, the higher the percentage of people who voted for the casino amendment.

(Map is based on the most recent Albany ward lines. Vote totals are from the Albany County BOE recanvas results.)

Table

A few things

+ There are about 97,000 people (of all ages) who live in the city of Albany. About 15,000 people voted on the casino amendment, so it's not like this vote necessarily indicates the preferences of everyone in the city.

+ Another thing to consider: "Are you in favor of allowing casinos upstate?" -- which is pretty much what the amendment question asked -- is a different question from "Are you in favor of a casino in your city?" So, again, something to keep in mind.

+ As Sheehan pointed out, there are some wards that had very strong support for the amendment -- five of them registering 60 percent or more as "yes" votes. The highest support was in the 5th ward, which includes much of the West Hill neighborhood, at 71 percent support.

+ The geographic middle of the city registered the least support, led by the 6th ward -- which covers parts of Center Square, Hudson/Park, and Washington Park -- at just 40 percent support.

+ E23 would be located in the 1st ward, where 61 percent of voters supported the casino amendment.

Public forum

There's a public forum with the developer backing E23 on April 16 at 6:30 pm at Giffen Elementary in Albany.

Earlier

+ E23: The proposal for an Albany casino
+ Focusing on support for a possible Capital Region casino, town by town
+ Capital Region casino site odds (much has changed)
+ How New York's deck of counties split on the casino vote

photo: Flickr user Håkan Dahlström (cc)

Comments

What strikes me as interesting about the table is the big differences in voter turnout among the various wards. I've always known my ward (ward 8) gets out the vote, but here I'm seeing some numbers.

Keep sinking the ship Albany. Keep sinking the ship.

I was a no vote and I live in ward 13, one of the more anti locales based on the map. However, now that the amendment passed, I am in favor of the E23 proposal.

I didn't like the idea of state-sponsored casinos at all. There are better ways to promote economic development. I'm not convinced the tax revenue benefits will be as great as claimed. Plus, the process of making exclusivity deals with the native casinos, and the site selection process, are politically corrupt.

But regardless, now that it's passed and casinos are gonna go somewhere, we might as well take whatever limited benefits there are here in albany. And this is as good a location as any to minimize the negatives.

So an albany no vote that nonetheless supports E23 pretty strongly.

It's sad when you see how few people vote.

Believe it or not the site selection process was not corrupt. The Noonans just happen to have a site that makes sense. No matter who owned that property Flaum would have pursued it.

I'd rather see a casino in Albany than an aquarium.

Whatever County shows the foresight to seize this economic opportunity will have the brightest future. It is outstanding that the people (who voted) in
Saratoga don't want it. In 20 years they will look back at the worst decision that was ever made for the City and County of Saratoga, if they are successful in making it go elsewhere. Wake up Saratoga it is not going away, it is going down the road.

The technical term for casino patrons is "losers." The house always wins. It is a false hope that a casino will benefit the economy. It just redistributes money from those with little to those with a lot. Most of the profit goes out of the area to casino investors--none of whom would ever live within miles of a casino themselves. Saratoga rejected a casino in favor of long-lasting productive businesses. The casino will just further destroy economic activity in nearby Albany, just like it destroyed hundreds of businesses in Atlantic City.

I think the Noonan site and water park proposal is ridiculous. It is nowhere near downtown and what's the whole water park thing? So mom and dad still be gambling away while their kids are unsupervised? Needs to be downtown or in renssrlaer where it is wanted and could be on the riverfront

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