The developments promised in the Upstate New York Gaming and Economic Development Act of 2013 finally came to fruition last month with the opening of two new destination resort casinos—the del Lago Resort & Casino in the town of Tyre and Rivers Casino & Resort in the city of Schenectady—and the completion of an expanded gaming floor at Tioga Downs Casino, which opened last December at the Tioga Downs racing facility in the community of Nichols.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo headlined the list of dignitaries present at the grand opening of the del Lago Resort & Casino in early February. The resort is a $440 million private investment featuring a 94,000-square-foot gaming floor, a 2,400-seat performance space and multiple dining and retail options. Built on 85 acres of undeveloped land, the project generated more than one million construction hours and created 1,500 permanent jobs in the region.
“The opening of del Lago means new jobs, increased economic activity and one more step forward in our efforts to strengthen and transform the Finger Lakes region,” Gov. Cuomo said. “For decades, New Yorkers looked beyond our borders to spend their entertainment dollars, but with this resort destination casino, we will attract New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore all this region has to offer.”
The property, which was developed by Peninsula Pacific and Wilmorite and will be managed by JNB Gaming, features the Farmers Market Buffet, which offers diners locally-sourced produce; The Vine, a 2,400-person entertainment venue; Portico by Fabio Viviani, a celebrity chef from Bravo’s hit reality series Top Chef; the Centrifico bar/lounge area in the center of the gaming floor; Savor NY—MacKenzie-Childs at del Lago, a 2,000-square-foot store featuring MacKenzie-Childs and Jay Strongwater products; a 4,200-square-foot food court with three restaurants; and a 205-room hotel, spa, banquet facility and The Sociale Café & Bar, set to open in summer 2017.
The Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady opened its doors on February 8. The facility is a $330 million project with a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor that includes 1,142 slot machines, 67 gaming tables and 15 poker tables attached to a 165-room hotel and a 10,000-square-foot banquet facility capable of hosting up to 900 people for conventions and special events, one of the largest spaces in the region, according to a press release. The casino takes full advantage of its riverfront location with outdoor patios and pre-function spaces.
Rivers Casino & Resort is located adjacent to a new mixed-use Mohawk Harbor development currently under construction by the Galesi Group, which constitutes an additional $150 million investment in the 60-acre riverfront property. The mix of residential, retail and commercial space will include a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 50-slip harbor on the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.
Rivers Casino & Resort will employ more than 1,100 team members.
February also saw the unveiling of an expanded gaming floor at Tioga Downs Casino that included 32 table games, including blackjack, craps and roulette, as well as popular casino games such as Pai Gow Poker, Let It Ride, three-card and four-card poker and the Big 6 Wheel.
The table games will be paired with Tioga Downs’ 944 slot machines, which feature all new games that include touch screen capabilities, downloadable credits and bonus games. In the works are a new 161-room hotel that will open later this year and include the Ageless Spa, an 8,300-square-foot event center and a P.J. Clarke’s restaurant. The new golf course club house is slated to open in 2018.