Casino Issues

With the Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor a reality for Schenectady, this site is no longer called Stop the Schenectady Casino. However, we are still “working to protect our community from casino-made problems.” All of our prior materials remain, with links redirected to our new domain. See the statement of Our Name & Mission for further explanation of our return to a broader focus and mission.


Click these links to find our webposts for various Casino-related Categories, issues, and history; and also scroll down to an alphabetical list of issues:


Company Town?

update:  (January 26, 2016) On December 21, 2015, the New York State Racing Commission issued a gaming license for Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor, Schenectady NY. See our Jan 22 posting “our concerns continue as license granted for schenectady casino“.  Despite our change in name, this website will continue to comment on important casino issues in the hope to avoid casino-made problems, and retain all prior posting. Will City and County government work to prevent or ameliorate casino-made problems, or will those with the responsibility to protect our community merely do the modern equivalent of building snowmen at the gates, leaving the gate open to danger, or having a drink at the tavern?

(December 17, 2014)  The Schenectady casino application has been chosen by the Location Board, making it important that the community come together to help prevent casino-made problems. See our posting “a casino is coming to Schenectady .

 Scroll Down for Our Issue Links

. . . we have relocated some information formerly linked in our masthead:

Statement in Opposition: Click this link for our STATEMENT in OPPOSITION to the Schenectady Casino (20 pages, plus twelve Attachments).  The Statement was submitted, with a signed Cover Letter, to the NYS Gaming Facility Location Board, at the Location Board’s Capital Region public hearing, September 22, 2014.  A brief summary of the five major points, along with thumbnails and links to the twelve attachments, can be found at this posting.

stopcasinopet1  Our PETITION: Click this link to see the Petition we circulated in 2014 asking the City Council and then the NYS Gaming Facility Location Board to reject the Schenectady application. We submitted the Petition to the Location Board along with our Statement in Opposition. It contained 364 signatures, 126 of which were by Stockade owners or residents.

LagoLogoB&W The information that had been found at the Lago HCA tab on our prior masthead, is now located at “the Lago casino HCA and the Mayor”.


  • Antitrust: see Fair Game below
  • Declining Revenues: see below: Saturation/Shaky Promises
  • Casino PylonPylon Directory:  In March 2016, Rivers Casino announced that it was leaving its Pylon sign structure out of its final proposed site plan, reserving for a future date the possibility of submitting a pylon proposal. This is a list of our posts and Comments discussing the proposed 80′ x 38′ Schenectady casino signage pylon and its 32′ x 19′ digital display:


beware the Zombie Pylon” (March 23, 2016). It ain’t dead yet.
Mayor McCarthy defends the casino pylon” at the League of Conservation Voters forum (September 22, 2015)
bait and switch along the Mohawk” (July 31, 2015) suddenly we have a v-shaped pylon with an LCD screen on each wing.
– “casino site plan approved: pylon, too” (July 22, 2015). And, the pylon will be bulkier, brighter and wider than expected.
– click here for a pdf version of David Giacalone’s Comments to the Commission regarding the Casino Pylon, dated July 22, 2015
– “the Commission should require a better pylon” (July 20, 2015) The Planning Comn has the power to insist on a safer and better-looking pylon.
– “a Pylon Precis: too big, too bright, too  much” (July 16, 2015): a comparatively pithy summary.
– This posting “pylon envy?“ (see below): compares the Sch’dy pylon to classic Las Vegas signs and a massive new sign in Cincinnati; it also compares the signage rules that apply to all other businesses in Schenectady but not to the Casino

– “phony pylon excuse“: uses photos, maps, and other images to explain why the excuse that  the STS Steel Building blocks the view of the casino is simply untrue

– “shrink that Casino pylon“: explains why the proposed pylon is the wrong size at the wrong location; looks at the Des Plaines Rivers Casino, which is too large and too bright at night although “only” 68 ft. tall; worries the Schenectady pylon would become an inappropriate symbol of Schenectady

– “how big is 80 feet by 38 feet?” (July 12, 2015), which points out that the proposed pylon sign is both taller and wider than Schenectady’s former Masonic Temple, at 302 State Street.

– other pylon-related materials:
  1. Comments submitted to the Planning Commission by David Giacalone, June 17, 2015, which stresses the inappropriate height and width and the serious traffic hazard from the huge digital display.
  2. A discussion of variables for evaluating the safety of roadside CEVMS (digital variable message displays).
  3. The Casino’s 2014 Visual Resources Assessment submitted by the Mohawk Harbor applicants as part of its environmental impact assessment, concluding that the project would have no negative visual impact on the City or any historically sensitive areas. It analyzed the proposed riverbank hotel, but  not the casino pylon sign.
  4. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Visual Impact Assessment Policy(2000). Both Metroplex and the Mohawk Harbor applicant purport to follow this important policy statement in reviewing the project’s likely visual impact off-site.

 One-Page Guide to Writing a Letter Opposing the Schenectady Casino (Sept. 28, 2014)

  • Problem Gambling [and see Young Gamblers below]:

update (March 2, 2016): “Will Problem Gambling Awareness Month inspire action?

a good start for Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2017” (March 3, 2017

update (June 12, 2015): Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts: Results of a Baseline Population Survey, May 28, 2015 (Executive Summary)

1)  The Impacts of Gambling on Local Citizens ; 2) “Why Casinos Matter: Thirty-One Evidence-Based Propositions from the Health and Social Sciences” (A Report from the Council on Casinos, Institute for American Values, 2013), especially at 18.

2 thoughts on “Casino Issues

  1. Dear concerned residents; no mention in this article of the long ongoing problem of prostitution in Schenectady,it has been known for about 100 years that you could pick up a “girl” on State or Albany st. for $10 , ,However now the Chinese mafia has moved into the area and after numerous complaints you can still go to Woodlawn plaza, an upscale part of town, to the SKIN SPA and ring the secret door bell, because the door is always locked,,wonder why???? Are Schenectady Police afraid to raid the place or maybe there is more to the big picture. If left undeterred you can bet the next thing will be the “cleaning crew” at the new casino will be Chinese “girls” humanly trafficked for other services besides changing the sheets!!!! IF SCHENECTADY POLICE DONT DO SOMETHING SOON someone else just make take matters into there own hands. Signed FED UP!!!!

    • thanks for writing, John. We didn’t mention prostitution in the posting about antitrust law and the theaters, but we have talked about the likelihood of more prostitution from our very first day fighting the casino. I sure hope our Police Department will be working on ways to prevent crime from spilling out from the casino.

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