Archive for December, 2015

New York Gaming Commission Licenses Three New Casinos

Thursday, December 24th, 2015


New York state gambling regulators on December 21, 2015 approved licensing for three new casinos. Preliminary construction for the casinos had already started in Schenectady, the Finger Lakes and the Catskills. Now, with formal licensing approved, full scale construction and financing can proceed unencumbered. The five members of the New York Gaming Commission unanimously approved all three licenses with no formal comments attached other than noting that all financial, legal, environmental and criminal background checks were satisfactory. Sixteen applications for these three licenses were submitted in 2014. The Gaming Commission took a full year for careful review before announcing licenses for the new casinos.

The Montreign Resort Casino will be built in the Catskills town of Thompson in Sullivan County. The Rivers Resort & Casino will be built in Schenectady at Mohawk Harbor. The Lago Resort & Casino will be built in the Finger Lakes town of Tyre in Seneca County. All three areas will experience a significant boost to the local economies. More than 3200 full-time jobs will be created to support the casinos. Projections of $265 million in taxes along with $136 million in licensing fees are estimated on an annual basis.

The awarding of the Lago Resort & Casino didn’t come without controversy. The Turning Stone Resort Casino is located only 65 miles away in the town of Verona and is operated by the Oneida Indian Nation. The tribe’s attorney says that the decision to build Lago was flawed and that its’ revenue will be siphoned off Turning Stone. They will be going to court to try and stop the construction of the new $425 million casino which will include a spa, restaurants, a 207 room hotel, 85 gaming tables and 2000 slot machines. The owners of Lago Resort, Wilmorite and Peninsula Pacific, say the entire Finger Lake area with all of its local businesses, wineries, breweries and farms, will benefit from increased tourism and that Turning Stone Resort shouldn’t worry.

The Mohawk Harbor project of Rivers Resort and Casino is part of a larger redevelopment effort of the industrial riverfront. Work had already begun on the blighted area in anticipation of licensing by the Gaming Commission. The $300 million project will have a hotel, high-end steakhouse, 1100 slot machines and 66 gambling tables. The River Resort and Casino is expected to be an economic engine for the area and a magnet for new businesses.

The Montreign Resort Casino project comes in at $630 million and includes an 18-story hotel and casino complex, meeting spaces and an indoor waterpark. The developer for the project, Empire Resorts, operates through a subsidiary of the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway. It’s located at the site of the old Concord resort outside Monticello.


Online Gambling in Massachusetts Getting Close

Saturday, December 12th, 2015


Plans for casino expansion in the state of Massachusetts are well under way. Along with those plans, consideration is being given to legalizing online gambling. Bruce Tarr, the state Senate Minority Leader has been lobbying the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant internet gaming licenses to the states’ two planned new casinos, Wynn Everett and MGM Springfield. The option to offering online wagering with its additional revenue stream, is thought to be paramount in getting the new casinos off to a good financial start. Without it, it is feared that other states with legalized online gaming, especially the nearby states of Delaware and New Jersey, will undermine the new casinos potential success. This proposal does not allow for new casino licenses other than those that have already been approved. It was thought that this would be a great opportunity to provide sanctioning for fantasy sports, but such a provision has not been addressed in the new proposal.

The construction of three new regional casinos and a slot parlor will take place over the next four years. The new $1.7 billion Wynn Everett Casino will be 24 stories and located on the Everett waterfront. The price tag for the new MGM Resorts and Casino has already increased from $800 million to $950 million before construction gas even started. MGM Resorts is also currently involved in a campaign to challenge the legality of Connecticut legislation that could potentially the success of their new casino. The state has hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to assist. The Connecticut legislation has granted exclusive rights to two Indian tribes – the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan – to open a casino near the Massachusetts border. Meanwhile, Connecticut doesn’t think that there’s anything Massachusetts can do about it and are expected to award a construction contract by December 15 for the new casino. They are currently considering bids from East Windsor, East Hartford, Windsor Lock and Hartford.

Supports of Senator Bruce Tarrs’ proposal for online gambling feel it would be an excellent way to attract more players. But others feel that the option for internet gaming would diminish the new land based casinos chances for success by taking away potential players. The coming year of 2016 could see big changes for the online gambling marketplace in the United States –especially if Massachusetts and other states currently contemplating legalization do vote to legalize internet gambling.