New York Recommends 4th Casino in Gambling Expansion Plan

New YorkThe New York Gaming Facility Location Board issued a recommendation that a new casino be approved for the state’s Southern Tier region.

Last December, the same board recommended that three new casinos be opened in upstate New York as part of the state’s plan to expand gambling to raise revenue. The Catskills, Schenectady and Finger Lakes got the nod, leaving Southern Tier residents up in arms over economic struggles that would have been somewhat alleviated by a new casino in the area.

Those residents let their anger be known to New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who urged the location board to take another look at a [geolink href=””]possible 4th casino[/geolink] for the impoverished area. A public hearing was held in support of a $195 million proposal by Jeffrey Gural, owner of Tioga Downs racetrack, to operate a casino in the Southern region, a proposal that was shot down the first go round.

That hearing saw a huge turnout from area residents, all supporting a casino in hopes of reviving a community hard hit by business closings and area farmers struggling to make ends meet, the New York Times reported. The board apparently was moved by the pleas of the residents, giving the OK for the Tioga Downs’ bid after all.

Huge Expansion of Racetrack

Gural’s proposal aims to expand Tioga Downs into a casino/hotel complete with 161 rooms for guests, six restaurants, an outdoor concert venue, 50 table games such as roulette and blackjack, and 1,000 slot machines. That proposal was revised after the initial rejection, with location board members citing the updated bid as a boon to the area in terms of jobs, tourism and revenue.

The project awaits final approval, but has a good chance of finding favor with state gaming regulators. However, those regulators are likely watching gambling regimes in neighboring states closely, hoping their state can avoid the pitfalls experienced in places like New Jersey.

Atlantic City saw a handful of casinos close last year following years of declining revenues. Pennsylvania has also seen a downturn in casino revenue, leading many to believe that oversaturation may be the cause. Connecticut, too, shows an arrow pointing downward on its casino revenue graph.

Online Poker Discussed as Well

[geolink href=””]New York[/geolink], meanwhile, forges ahead with its gambling expansion strategy. That strategy may include online poker and gambling in the near future once the additional land-based casinos are up and running.

An ipoker hearing was held in New York [geolink href=””]earlier this year[/geolink]. However, it was [geolink href=””]sparsely attended by legislators[/geolink], proving that there is currently no urgency with regard to igaming in the Empire State until the land-based gaming situation is fully ironed out.

Those new casinos come with some hefty price tags. The Catskills resort casino has been pegged as costing $750 million, while the approved casino in Schenectady revealed an estimate of $300 million. Almost in the middle of those two was the Finger Lakes proposal at $425 million.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett