New York Gaming Facility Boards grants licenses for Las Vegas-style casino resorts outside the city
Sixteen entities ended up submitting proposals to construct casinos in three locations: the Albany/Saratoga area, the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes region and the Catskills/Mid-Hudson Valley corridor. Although there was clearance to award four licenses, the Facility Location Board chose to give out just three at this time. The winning projects were:
- The Montreign Resort Casino, a $630 million project that will be developed by Empire resorts in the Catskills community of Monticello;
- The Rivers Casino, a $300 million resort to be built in city of Schenectady by Rush Street Gaming and the Galesi Group; and
- Lago Resort & Casino, a $435 million development earmarked for the Finger Lakes community of Tyre, which will be built by Wilmorite, a local developer.
Surprisingly, the Facility Location Board decided against awarding any licenses for Orange County, the Catskills area closest to the New York City Metro region, which had attracted bids from six casino developers. The Board had evidently decided an Orange County-based resort would undermine the Montreign Casino, which will be built in neighboring Sullivan Country, reported the New York Times.
In an analyst report released shortly after the licensing decisions, Fitch Ratings determined Atlantic City to be one of the main winners, opining that one or two Orange County-based casinos would have dramatically curtailed New York City visitation rates to New Jersey casinos. Fitch also reported that New York’s decision to not award a single license in Orange County diffuses the pressure to expand gaming in New Jersey.
Otherwise, Fitch expects Montreign Resort Casino to cannibalize from the tri-state area’s existing casinos, but believes the impact should be manageable. Montreign projects its full-year gaming revenues to be $301 million, which Fitch states is reasonable. Much of the new casino resort’s gaming revenues will likely come at the expense of nearby casinos, as the larger
Montreign’s revenue projection equals about 4 percent of the tri-state’s $8 billion gaming market (including eastern Pennsylvania casinos). Assuming 100 percent of the gaming revenue is cannibalized, Fitch believes gaming revenues at the existing casinos in the region could be negatively affected by 3-6 percent, depending on their proximity to Montreign’s feeder markets. Empire City Casino in Yonkers will likely suffer the most negative impact. Other casinos, including those in Atlantic City, Queens, eastern Pennsylvania and Connecticut will also feel a negative impact, though to a lesser extent.