The owners of Saratoga Casino and Raceway this week closed on its purchase of a casino outside Denver and will rename it “Saratoga Casino Colorado.”
The purchase of the Fitzgeralds Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, Co., is noteworthy because it gives the Saratoga owners an ability to expand their profile as they lobby Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers for a full-blown casino at the Saratoga track.
“Well, that’s certainly a collateral benefit of it,” he said. “That was certainly not the primary reason we did it. It was an opportunity that came to our attention.”
The Saratoga owners paid $28 million for the Fitzgeralds Casino Black Hawk, which has about 600 slot machines, 11 table games and restaurants and bars.
Featherstonhaugh said the Saratoga name has international appeal.
“We think Saratoga is a worldwide destination and that people know it and it’s synonymous with racing primarily and from the old days racing and gaming,” he said. “And we think the Saratoga casino is a brand that is quite mobile.”
The Saratoga owners have also expanded their portfolio to include part ownership in Ellis Park Race Course in Kentucky. Kentucky lawmakers are considering legalizing gambling.
“This is yet another important milestone for our company and we are very proud to add such a highly regarded property as the Fitzgeralds Casino Black Hawk to our growing portfolio of gaming operations,” said Dan Gerrity, president of Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc., in a statement this week.
Featherstonhaugh said he was hopeful that the nine racinos in New York would be able to become full-scaled casinos. He heads the lobbying group, the New York Racing Association, which is made up of the tracks. Cuomo has indicated he wants three upstate casinos, and the racinos would be able to vie for their licenses.
“I think we are very interested bystanders watching the process unfold,” Featherstonhaugh said. “We still think that expanding gaming at the existing racinos is the best answer for the state of New York, for education, for employment. We are going to continue to express that point of view.”