Casino opens, gamble wisely

After years of anticipation, the grand opening of the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady last week signifies a new era for the local region. The Rivers is a Las Vegas-style casino, one of four authorized by state regulators after voters approved an amendment to New York’s constitution expanding gambling. It can hold 7,029 people, including employees. The casino is expected to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The state’s initiative to allow casino gaming is a gambit not without risk. New York state is hoping to capture some of the estimated $1.2 billion New Yorkers had been spending at casinos outside of the state as well as casinos on Indian reservations.

Some tax revenue from the Rivers Casino & Resort will be distributed to each of the counties in the Capital Region, with Fulton County’s share expected to be about $1.6 million and Montgomery County’s being $1.4 million.

The increased tax revenue will be the unquestionably good impact of the casino, but what remains to be seen is what affect having a 24/7 Las Vegas-style casino less than an hour away will have on the predilections of local gamblers. Gambling can be a serious addiction for some people and it can lead to great misery and financial hardship. We remind everyone that the odds are always in favor of the casino, and in the long run, the House always wins.

With that said, we recommend anyone who wants to gamble to do so locally — it’s better to lose your money at a place where the state will at least get some of it, which helps to offset other tax sources. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and if you think you may have a gambling addiction, you should seek help. One place to look would be www.gamblersanonymous.org.

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