New York casino Southern Tier

Gaming Facility Location Board chair Kevin Law says the board is hoping for more competition in the Southern Tier bidding process. (Image:

The New York casino bidding process isn’t over just quite yet. As expected, the Gaming Facility Location Board agreed on Friday to reopen the bidding for a casino in the Southern Tier region, once again allowing the possibility that a fourth casino license could be awarded in the state.

According to board chairman Kevin Law, it is expected that a final decision on whether or not to approve a casino for the region should come by this summer.

New Round of Bidding Was Anticipated

The move was an expected one. After all, Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote the board personally late last year in order to ask it to give the Southern Tier another chance to come up with new proposals that they might be willing to approve.

Members of the board have also spoken publically about how there is no real harm in reopening the process: if there isn’t a new proposal that they like, they can always say they want to stick with only the three casinos that are currently set to be built in upstate New York.

On the other hand, if someone steps up to wow the board, they might get the license that eluded the region the first time around.

“We’re hoping that there is going to be competition, Law said. “We only got three bids for the whole combined region for the first time around, so to expect numbers larger than that is probably unrealistic, but you never know.”

New Report Outlines Selection Process

On the same days that this decision was reached, the board also released a nearly 800-page report that outlined exactly why the three winning bidders were chosen, and while the other 13 projects were rejected.

Perhaps the most interesting battle took place in the Hudson Valley/Catskills region, where even major gambling firms like Caesars and Genting were interesting in placing a casino in Orange County given its proximity to New York City.

However, all of the Orange County proposals were rejected; instead, the Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson, in the heart of Sullivan County and the Catskills, was the winning bidder.

The newly-released report explains how the committee came to that decision. The board was willing to concede that a casino in Orange County would have been extremely lucrative, given how many people live in and around New York City and the fact that 50 million tourists visit the area every year.

However, placing a casino in Orange County would have seriously harmed the prospects of any casino placed further north in the Catskills. That was a problem, because the Catskills was seen as an area of much more economic need that could truly use the stimulus that a casino project might provide.

Montreign was chosen over other casinos in the Catskills for various reasons. A competing Mohegan Sun proposal in Thompson was considered too small, while the Nevele in Ellenville was discounted because it didn’t include entertainment options beyond gambling.

The report also offered some insight into why the most promising bid in the Southern Tier, the Tioga Downs proposal, was rejected. According to the board, the plan lacked “a cohesive site design and layout.”

The board also used the report to once again reiterate their reasoning for not initially selecting the maximum of four upstate casinos. The main reason came down to the fact that regional competition has made oversaturation a real danger, and that the board wanted to ensure the three casinos that were chosen would have enough customers to be successful.