The area around the city of Albany, New York, features one casino gaming complex and a racetrack. Visitors and residents of Albany can also find two additional casinos within three hours of New York's capital city by traveling westward toward Utica or southeast into central Connecticut. The casinos nearest Albany also feature restaurants and overnight accommodations, making them ideal destinations for weekend trips.
Saratoga Gaming & Raceway
The Saratoga Gaming & Raceway is on Jefferson Street in Saratoga Springs, New York, approximately 32 miles from Albany, or about 36 minutes by automobile. The casino offers more than 1,700 slot machines on site, year round that range in cost from $.01 to $25 per bet, as of 2010. Live horse harness racing occurs some evenings from March through mid-December. Simulcast races are also televised for additional betting opportunities year round. No table games are found at the casino.
The casino has an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, a casual food court and an upscale, fine-dining restaurant called The Lodge. The Vapor Lounge is the resort's on-site night club and features live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. Several lodging options are located within five miles of the Saratoga Gaming & Raceway, ranging from low-cost motels to a luxury resort -- the Gideon Putnam.
The Saratoga Gaming & Raceway serves free soft drinks on the gaming floor and four ATMs for guests' convenience. Admission to the casino is free. The entire facility is smoke free, and you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Vernon Downs Casino and Hotel
The Vernon Downs Casino and Hotel is on Stuhlman Road in the rural community of Vernon, New York, about 110 miles west of Albany, approximately two hours by automobile. The gaming floor offers 761 slot machines, which range in cost from $.01 to $5. The casino is most well-known for its video-poker machines that are linked to other New York State casinos, allowing players to compete against opponents from across the state. On-site harness racing occurs from April through November and other races are simulcast year round.
Visitors can choose from seven different dining options at the Vernon Downs Casino and Hotel, including casual concession stands, a pub, two buffets and a casual cafe. The Miracle Mile Restaurant has monitors for simulcast racing at each table. The casino hosts live musical performances regularly and has previously featured well-known entertainers like Clint Black and Joan Jett. A hotel is also on-site and offers numerous amenities like a free, daily continental breakfast.
The Vernon Downs Casino and Hotel is entirely non smoking. Admission to the casino is free. Two of the restaurants are open to families, but the gaming floor and the majority of the other spaces at the casino require patrons to be a minimum of 18 years of age to enter.
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Operated by the Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods Resort Casino is on Trolley Line Boulevard in Mashantucket, Connecticut, about 160 miles from Albany, approximately three hours by automobile. The resort has six different casino areas that together have more than 6,200 slot machines and gaming; 380 tables feature 17 different games. A 3,600-seat hall hosts high-stakes Bingo, and simulcast horse racing is hosted year round at the resort.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino offers 30 different restaurants, including express take-out restaurants, a buffet and sit-down establishments that include a Hard Rock Cafe and a steak and seafood restaurant. The resort has nightclubs and hosts live concerts and comedians throughout the year. Guests can also enjoy the Norwich Spa and Salon the 36-hole Lake of Isles golf course during their stay. Five different options for accommodations are located on the property, including an MGM Grand Hotel.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino admits patrons 18 years of age or older to its Bingo hall; patrons must be at least 21-years-old to enter other gaming areas. Smoking is permitted in most parts of its casinos, but non-smoking slots and table-gaming areas are also available. Free and for-fee wireless Internet is accessible in some parts of the resort, and several ATMs are available in each casino.
Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.