Campaigning for casinos ramps up
Story by Eli Ruiz
ROCK HILL August 6. 2013 On Friday, several county officials and businesspersons gathered at BHR (formerly Bernie’s) to strategize and mull over some ideas regarding a referendum that stands to have a profound effect on not only the local economy, but also the very people who live here year-round: The now very real possibility that casino gambling may soon be coming to Sullivan County.
Many empty promises regarding legalized gambling have been made to the people of this county over several decades since the tourism industry went south, and along with it took the millions in tourism dollars that were once the lifeblood of this region.
But at this point in history, Sullivan County and the Catskills stand closer than ever to securing a true gaming casino. The stage has been set for a November statewide referendum to change the state constitution and allow Class III casinos.
With downstate not in the mix for a new casino, though, many locals fear the measure may live and die with that area’s vote; obviating the importance of getting the word out about not just the November gambling referendum, but also of the importance getting folks both locally and statewide mobilized for this important vote holds for Sullivan County and the Catskills.
Toward that end, Rock Hill resident Amy Goodstein of Catskill Valley Homes and Sullivan County businessman Randy Resnick (owner of BHR) put together the Saturday morning powwow that attracted the likes of County Legislative Chair Scott Samuelson, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Legislator Ira Steingart, Sullivan County Partnership President Marc Baez and more.
“We’ve been talking about this for months,” offered Goodstein. “We just reached out to a few friends, who reached out to a few of their friends and in a matter of 36 hours we pulled together a meeting.
The influential group talked for several hours about how best to get the “Vote Yes” message out to the public in the most unified and effective manner, settling on a well organized advertising blitz that will kick off with a planned August 14 rally at the Sullivan Hotel on Rock Hill Drive.
“It’s not a rally if only 20 or 30 people show up,” said Resnick. “We need all the local support possible to get the word out… there are people from Long Island who don’t even know this is on the ballot,” he added. “People think this is just about a casino. No! It’s about money, jobs and economic development.”
“We want the potential casino operators to know that Sullivan County business owners and residents are behind this and ready to support it 110-percent,” affirmed Goodstein.
For more information on the November referendum, or to support this cause, send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or be at the Sullivan Hotel August 14 at 6 p.m.