10/17/18 – Troy Record

Saratoga Casino Hotel celebrates contributing $1 billion to NYS Education

Saratoga Casino Hotel celebrated contributing $1 billion to New York State Education since expanding their harness track into New York State’s debut VLT facility in January 2004, Tuesday morning.

Saratoga Casino Hotel reached the milestone officially on Saturday, Oct. 6.

“Since opening the doors to our casino in 2004, we’ve worked diligently to develop [a[ historic harness track into a strong entertainment destination for our region and New York State,” said Daniel Gerrity, President of Saratoga Casino Hotel in a statement. “This is something we’re very proud of, and we could not have achieved this without the commitment of our team members, unions and trades staff.”

On average, Saratoga Casino Hotel contributes 48 percent of their total gaming revenues to New York State Education. The funds get allocated to the New York State Education Fund where they are then dispersed across the region and state accordingly. Of the nine gaming facilities who are members of the New York State Gaming Association, Saratoga Casino Hotel is just the third property to surpass the billion-dollar threshold for education contributions.

Numerous capital improvements and property expansions throughout the casino’s 14 years have led to consistent employment growth and development – the most significant of which came in 2016 with the addition of the casino’s 117-room hotel and Morton’s® The Steakhouse. Prior to the casino, Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. consisted of just 35 full-time employees and 100 seasonal team members with a $1.8 Million annual payroll in 2003.

Skip Carlson, senior vice president of External Affairs, thanked the 620 employees at the hotel.

“We don’t make a billion dollars for education without their support,” Carlson said.

In addition, there are over 200 others employed on the race backstretch as a direct impact of harness racing in Saratoga.

“We’re very grateful for the employment opportunities and financial support that have been provided to Saratoga County and the state as a direct result of Saratoga Casino,” said New York State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner in a statement. “The casino has consistently demonstrated good community stewardship along with a strong reliance on purchasing goods and services from local businesses. We congratulate them on the significant achievement of contributing One Billion Dollars to New York State Education.”

With one full year of operating the new hotel and property expansion, Saratoga Casino Hotel amassed a $222 Million Dollar statewide economic output in 2017. That figure accounts for the total payroll for their employees, operations expenses, support for racing, and statewide education contributions.

“We are dedicated to continual improvements and capital investments that will enable Saratoga Casino to remain a regional economic driver in an increasingly competitive market,” said Gerrity. “We’re confident these investments will allow us to prosper in the future and further our support of New York State Education.”

New York State Senator Kathy Marchione thanked the casino during a ceremony Tuesday morning.

“Thank you for your hard work, thank you for your contribution and thank you for being part of this community,” said Marchione. “I’ve been to events where I watch you give other money away to non-profit; you’re such an amazing community partner.”

Since opening in 2004, Saratoga Casino has also spurred significant economic activity in both Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County. The casino has contributed approximately $9.3 Million to the city of Saratoga Springs and $3.1 Million to Saratoga County respectively. The contributions do not account for the local vendors and regional businesses utilized by Saratoga Casino, which in 2018 alone is estimated to account for $19.6 Million in spending.

Saratoga Casino Hotel is also responsible for a significant impact on regional agriculture and equine businesses. Each year, the casino generates approximately $20 Million towards New York’s agriculture business. This encompasses the racing purses won by owners, drivers, and trainers that are then re-invested towards purchasing feed from local farms, receiving veterinarian and blacksmith services. Since the introduction of the casino’s VLTs in 2004, $150 Million has been directly added to purses and have been responsible for adding an additional 600 racing programs.