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Catskills climb back
into gaming plan

Apr 16, 2003 5:12 AM

by GT STAFF / WIRE REPORTS

The on again, off again battle to bring Vegas-style gaming to the Catskills would seem to be back on.

Alpha Hospitality last week filed an application with the federal government to build a $500 million casino adjacent to Monticello Raceway. The upstate New York facility moved back in the picture when New York City decided against a proposal to place video slots in three OTB locations.

The track, criticized in the past by state officials for its condition, is expected to be upgraded.

"This will give the track a chance to be exposed to a whole new realm of people who otherwise would not go to a racetrack," said Robert Berman, chairman of Alpha.

Berman is also pushing to get video lottery terminals installed at the facility.

Mass debates gaming

This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will debate legalizing gambling in the state.

The Aquinnah Wampanoag, the only federally recognized tribe in the state, wants to put a resort casino in Plymouth or Bristol counties.

The Cape Cod Times reports that the planned casino would be built in a yet to be named location on non-tribal land held in trust by the federal government.

Gov. Mitt Romney gave no special consideration to the tribe last month when he proposed restricting gambling to three or four video slot machine parlors in a five-year experiment.

However, the momentum of gaming interest in other states is putting the pressure on Massachusetts to follow suit. One bill before the House would authorize slots at the state’s four racetracks.