The $40 million expansion is coming together quickly as most the structural work is complete on the new hotel being built at what the majority of the locals call the racino.

In keeping with the venue’s efforts to remain competitive, on Wednesday, the official name changed from Saratoga Casino and Raceway to Saratoga Casino Hotel. Operators view the new name as a major drawing card.

The new hotel will include 117 luxury rooms and suites, a Morton’s steakhouse, which is the only one for approximately 150 miles, fitness center, and indoor swimming pool. The updates combined with the venue’s video slots and live harness racing will provide the facility with the amenities to draw tour groups, as well as locals to Saratoga Springs. Rita Cox, vice-president of marketing for the hotel, said, “This is about us being an entertainment destination within a very important destination.”

Room reservations are being taken now by Saratoga Casino Hotel and a major advertising campaign to introduce its new brand is planned.

All of the efforts are very important as the newly branded Saratoga Casino Hotel has to compete with the $330 million Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, located only 25 miles away, which had its topping off ceremony last week. Construction began on the enormous 160,000 square-foot building immediately after New York State awarded its gaming license in December 2015. The competing venue will be a full-scale casino, with a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor, 1,150 slot machines, and table games with live dealers, which will be attached to a 163-room hotel. It will also include a 600 person capacity, 10,000-square-foot banquet facility for hosting conventions and special events, as well as a steakhouse.

The Saratoga Casino could be hurt tremendously by the Rivers Casino, which is why the venue’s owners have been so aggressive with their hotel expansion. The timing for all of the collective changes made by Saratoga is no coincidence. Cox said, “They’re certainly going to have a great product. However, we believe that with this addition, we compete on an even playing field with anything they could possibly bring to the table.”

While there is a minimum of nine more months of work remaining in the finishing process, an aggressive construction schedule, and an unseasonably warm winter are aiding the possibility of Schenectady‘s casino being completed in time for an early 2017 opening; something that Rush Street Gaming is committed to.

On May 16, a job fair is being hosted by Saratoga Casino Hotel to fill 100 new positions.