Eventually, as outlined in the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act approved by voters and legislators alike, there will be four casino licenses granted - one in the Capital Region (essentially Albany), one in the Eastern Southern Tier (think Finger Lakes and points east), and one in the Catskills/Hudson Valley (those counties above Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland that border the Hudson River as far as Albany). One area is getting two casinos and all the smart money is on the Catskills/Hudson Valley area, the closest to New York City.
Although there have been 22 applications submitted at a hefty $1 million each there does not seem to be much community support anywhere with concerns about traffic, crime, stress on resources and infrastructure, and bogus job claims the most popular.
The Catskills investors have threatened to pull out if one of the licenses goes to a casino in Orange County, an area that is 45 minutes closer to New York City than the Borscht Belt. Time will tell although it may not heal all!
Here are the deadlines that have passed and what to expect from the future:
- March 31 - State Gaming Commission issued request for applications
- April 23 - $1 million application fee due
- April 30 - Mandatory conference for applicants
- Early May - State to set minimum investment amount for casino applicants
- June 30 - Deadline for applications to be submitted
- On or After July 21 - Oral presentation of applications
- Early Fall - Selection of four facility operators
The only hope that venues like Empire City and Resorts World have is to wait out the seven year moratorium on full-service casinos outside the economic development zones and then apply for the real thing.
More to come.