Casino support strongest where no casinos will go

No casino here. (Boston Public Library.)
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ALBANY—The biggest pluralities for legalizing casino gambling came from areas that won't be eligible to host casinos, statewide returns show, as downstate counties outbalanced tepid support in many upstate areas.

Perhaps most interestingly, voters in Saratoga County—where a slot parlor attached to the marquee racetrack is considered a leading site for a casino—narrowly rejected the referendum by 25,488 to 21,956. The biggest margins in favor of the proposal were on Long Island, where voters affirmed casinos by an almost 2-to-1 ratio, as well as Brooklyn and Queens.

The Hudson Valley was in favor, too. It's widely speculated that this region will be the site of at least two casinos, and there are several proposals on the table to revive old Borscht-belt resorts with a gambling component.

Michael Treanor, an investor who hopes to develop the Nevele Grand Hotel near Ellenville, noted voters in Ulster County came out in support of the proposition: 25,467 to 16,841. The proposal was also approved, solidly, in Sullivan and Orange counties.

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“I was a little surprised at some of the counties were 50/50, but that's what people in those areas want,” Treanor said on a conference call. “It's incredibly strong in this region, and in Ulster County, we have unanimous resolutions from … every elected official who represents the Nevele. We think one of the strongest things we have going for us is the local support.”