Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The New York Casino Verdicts Are In

The long awaited, much anticipated announcement of which companies will receive casino licenses in New York came today a little later than expected but exciting nevertheless. There were winners, just three of those, and many more losers in what turned out to be an expensive, contentious contest for the first full-service non-tribal casinos in New York State.

And the winners are (courtesy of the Associated Press' David Klepper):

- The Montreign Resort Casino will be built in the Catskills town of Thompson. The $630 million project will come with an 18-story casino and hotel complex, meeting spaces and an indoor water park. Its developer, Empire Resorts, operates through a subsidiary, the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway.

The Catskills

- The Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in the city of Schenectady will be part of a larger redevelopment effort at a formerly blighted riverfront site. The $300 million project will include a hotel, a high-end steakhouse, 66 gambling tables and more than 1,100 slot machines.

- Lago Resort & Casino, a $425 million project in the Finger Lakes town of Tyre in Seneca County, will include 2,000 slot machines. It was the largest contender in the Finger Lakes-Southern Tier region.

See entire article HERE 

Although not specifically mentioned in the above report, Genting America, the massive Malaysia based casino operator, has a 50% interest in the Montreign Resort proposal and wins the battle of the big guns defeating the other large interests either named or unnamed like Caesars and Mohegan Sun. That, in itself, is not surprising since Genting had its hands in three of the sixteen proposals making it an odds on favorite to come out with something. They did not, however, get approval for their huge resort proposal in Tuxedo, NY, that one failing on the grounds that there was no pressing need for economic renewal in that area and that its 40 mile distance from New York City would impact the existing, very successful, racinos in Yonkers and Queens. Genting runs one of those racinos as well, Resorts World, and is raking in profits hand over fist.

The bottom line for New York City dwellers and nearby suburbanites is not good. A two hour trek to the Catskills for casual gambling will not happen for most gamblers when they already have existing options at the same or closer distances. The Seneca County and Schenectady sites will live or die on their own and my guess is that the nearby casino-less populations are not large enough to sustain either one of them. Both areas may see a spurt of activity in the summer months given their proximity to the Finger Lakes and Saratoga respectively but they will die in winter. The big question for NYC urbanites is how long will we really have to wait until the racinos exert enough pressure to grow into viable full service casinos. I don't see them having to wait the full seven years for the next round of expansions but I could be wrong.

So, yesterday we had none and today we have three casinos in New York. How great will the impact be? That remains to be seen.