With the Rivers Casino & Resort opening in Schenectady next year, the Saratoga Casino and Raceway owners have decided to spend $40 million on an expansion which will include a re-branding of the property. Saratoga Casino will be changed to be able to stay in competition with the new casino when it opens, creating a completely different brand, according to spokeswoman Rita Cox.
When it comes to a re-branding, this usually means a facility will have a new name. Cox would only confirm that a new name would be taking place but no other details. Additional information on the changes should be released in the new few weeks.
If the name of Saratoga Casino and Raceway is changed, this will be the second time the name has been changed in 12 years. The venue first changed names after video lottery terminals were adding, going to Saratoga Gaming and Raceway from the Saratoga Equine Sports Center. In early 2011, the New York venue was changed to Saratoga Casino and Raceway after regulations in the state were changed and racinos were able to brand themselves as a casino.
With the current rebranding efforts, the business model of Saratoga Casino will see a new hotel added with 117 guest rooms, a Morton’s upscale steakhouse, indoor swimming pool and ballroom. Additional amenities are also set to be added to the property. With the additions, the venue will be able to broaden their market to more than those who would be visiting to wager on VLTs or harness races.
This move is very important as the Saratoga Casino has to compete with the Rivers Casino & Resort which is located only 25 miles away. This venue will be a full-scale casino, offering over 1,100 slot machines, 63 gaming tables with live dealers and a hotel. With a ballroom and steakhouse as well, the Rivers Casino could hurt the Saratoga Casino tremendously. This is why the owners of Saratoga have been aggressive with their hotel expansion, costing $40 million.
According to Cox, the goal of Saratoga is to provide a total experience in a location that people can enjoy and easily get to. Today, the venue has over 1,700 VLTs including options for electronic blackjack and poker, which provides a live dealer like experience. However, with the Schenectady venue having the option to provide live dealer gaming, this could further harm the visitor numbers of Saratoga as gamblers choose to visit the Schenectady casino to have a true live dealer experience.