When Point Place Casino near Syracuse opens on March 1, the boutique $40 million, 65,000-square-foot casino will feature 500 slot machines and 20 table games. And while that might be great news for area gamblers, it’s not quite as welcomed by the competition.
New York gambling venues have been sprouting up across the state since legislators opted to legalize four commercial casinos in 2013. The result has been an increasingly crowded upstate region, with private and Native American gaming operators fighting for the same customer base.
Located in Bridgeport and owned and operated by the Oneida Nation, the tribal casino will be located within a half-hour drive of the Native American group’s Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango and its Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona. Once opened, the Finger Lakes region will be home to six casinos.
Over Promised, Under Delivered
The first three commercial casinos to open in upstate New York, the del Lago, Rivers, and Tioga Downs, have all fallen well short of their forecasted revenue forecasts. Combined, the three properties are expected to generate $220 million less of gross gaming revenue than what they projected during the bidding process with the New York Gaming Commission.
That means the state will miss out on tens of millions of dollars in expected tax revenue. In November, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon), who chairs the chamber’s Committee on Racing and Wagering, called for a review of how the casino projections were so far off.
“It is critically important that we have reliable and realistic long-term revenue projections,” Pretlow said in a statement.
State Senator John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope) says the revenue shortcomings should have been expected. Bonacic, who chairs the State Senate’s Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, says casino operators always float lofty projections in order to win over state legislators.
“It was a very competitive process for four casino licenses, and of course, their consultants were going to put rosy projections in order to get the Gaming Commission to hopefully give them a license,” Bonacic opined this week on The Capitol Pressroom, an Albany-based radio show. During the bidding, a total of 17 applicants submitted proposals for the four licenses.
The three companies behind the operational casinos admit they oversold their visions, but remain adamant that the properties are benefitting local host communities. Bonacic, along with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), agree.
“They’ve all been wildly successful in creating jobs and building beautiful complexes,” the governor said last year. Point Place will employ 200 workers.
More Competition Coming
Despite the market saturation, Resorts World is committed to a $1.2 billion integrated casino resort in the Catskills.
By far the largest investment of the four commercial casinos, Malaysia-based Genting Group’s resort in Monticello will feature a 100,000-square-foot casino with 2,150 slot machines and 150 live table games. The property will also include an 18-story hotel with 332 rooms, spa, golf course, and 10 dining options from casual to fine dining.
Resorts World Catskills is expected to open in the coming months.