NEW WINDSOR - Much has been written about Governor Cuomo’s plans to allow casino gambling in New York, with most of the coverage focusing on the fact that dozens of gaming companies are competing for the mere four licenses that will be awarded sometime this year.
The overwhelming interest in securing a license – which includes some national, big operations – is a great sign for regions of the state like ours, the Hudson Valley, which are struggling to keep pace with the state and national economies. We urge the state’s siting Board of Commission to grant a license to Greenetrack.
The story of Luther Winn and Greenetrack is nothing short of amazing. In 1999, Mr. Winn became President of Greenetrack, a Greyhound racing facility located in the town of Eutaw, Alabama. Area unemployment was the highest in the state. Greenetrack quickly forged local business-to-community partnerships to assess the needs of the region and developed a plan to offer casino-style gaming. They created thousands of good paying jobs, where housekeepers make $42,000 per year.
Greenetrack also offers employees 401K plans, and generously funds educational scholarships for community residents. These types of investments in employees and the community made Greene County the fastest growing county in Alabama…and should be the model for Orange County and New York State.
Despite what Greenetrack’s gaming competitors say, Orange County is not in better financial shape than Sullivan County or other parts of the state. Newburgh and Middletown are struggling. In fact, the rate of unemployment among African Americans in Newburgh is staggering: 1 in 3 young adults are unemployed, and have given up on educational pursuits. We need partners like Greenetrack to turn these dire statistics around.
In addition to its excellent track-record, Greenetrack is the only Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) competing for a casino license. Governor Cuomo has done a great job opening the doors for MWBEs – setting the bar at a minimum of 25% participation for state contracts. We believe the Board of Commissions must hold to the Governor’s commitment and award Greenetrack a license.
Greenetrack has selected one of the best sites in New York. A casino at Stewart Airport, which boasts a superbly-run airport and public transportation networks, would be self-contained and will pose no traffic problems for New Windsor and surrounding areas.
And finally: the folks at Greenetrack share our sense of small-town values. They understand what it means to belong to a community where people look out for one another, and provide healthy entertainment while creating jobs and growing our economy. That’s a big win for New York.