$1 million sports bar is main feature to Saratoga Casino upgrades coming this fall

by Administrator

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (WRGB) - The Saratoga Casino is getting $8 million in upgrades in effort to bring in more business and compete with newer casinos in the area, like the Rivers Casino in Schenectady.

“Competition has been fierce.”

We got a look at the brand new renderings of the sports bar coming to the Saratoga Casino Hotel this fall. We’re told the bar alone has a $1 million price tag.

Alex Tucker is General Manager of Saratoga Casino Hotel.

 “The sports bar will be the most impressive bar we have on property both from a visual and technical standpoint,” Tucker said.

The sports bar is the headliner, but that's not all. A VIP lounge, upgraded high-limit slot area and new carpet and finishings are all going in with a September deadline and all while the casino remains open for business.

Construction is happening right now on the sports bar which will be located on the gaming floor near the main entrance. Right now a temporary wall is up to allow gamers to continue playing.

Pre-construction director Scott Kopraski with developer Consigli Construction gave us a look at the area which right now is in rip-out stage. Some games that weren’t seeing high usage were removed to make room for the bar.

 “This feature bar will actually draw people the that portion of the casino,” he said.

Saratoga Casino Vice President of External Affairs Skip Carlson says the upgrades have to happen to stay afloat.

“Originally we thought we were going to be down 45% but we're definitely down 25% in gross gaming revenue since two years ago,” Carlson said.

Carlson says the Rivers Casino in Schenectady has primarily hurt Saratoga because it's closer to people who live south, and partly due to games.

“There’s a good number of people who like to play live table games and they like to play poker those are two things we don't have,” Carlson said.

Carlson says he believes sporting events bring the energy and excitement the casino wants to bring, and while he says sports betting doesn't look like a sure thing in NYS, the casino is planning on and fighting for that business.

“If it takes a constitutional amendment to get it here maybe that’s the route for us to take.”

Carlson says the gaming floor brings in 90% of the casino revenue. In addition to the upgrades, he says more change in the future is almost inevitable as demand changes and more casinos come in.

Soon, Carlson says, Saratoga will also have to compete with Boston, opening one of the largest casinos in the U.S. this summer at a cost of $3 billion.