New York licenses coming by end of year

Nov 9, 2015 10:19 AM

The New York Gaming Commission is expected to issue licenses to Montreign, the Lago Resort and Casino in the Finger Lakes and Rivers casino in Schenectady by the end of the year. A state panel endorsed the proposals last year after considering 16 different applications.

The three casino projects are intended to jumpstart the economy of upstate New York. Developers talked eagerly of ground-breakings, job fairs and a long-anticipated jolt to the upstate economy.

Nearly one year later, the three casino projects are still awaiting formal licensure from the state’ Gaming Commission, a lag marked by bureaucratic red tape and lawsuits that quashed any hopes of a quick start to construction.

“Casino licenses have been spoken about in New York state since the days of Nelson Rockefeller, so it feels like we’ve waited generations for this to happen,” said Charles Degliomini, executive vice president at Empire Resorts, the company behind the Montreign resort casino planned for the Catskills. “But this is a highly regulated process and they’re going to get it right.”

It’s been a longer wait than many initially expected. The developers behind the Lago project in Tyre had hoped to open in early 2016. Lago is now hoping for early 2017. In the meantime, a fourth casino project in the Southern Tier has joined the back of the line of those awaiting licensure.

“We’re eagerly awaiting the gaming commission’s issuance of a license,” said Lago spokesman Steve Greenberg.

Lee Park, a spokesman for the Gaming Commission, noted that the commission has consistently said a decision was likely before the end of the year, and that a one-year wait is actually not that long when one considers the detailed regulations concerning gambling.

“It is in everyone’s interest to get these licenses issued as quickly as possible,” he said. “We’re not cutting any corners. We are moving as expeditiously as possible.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].