Governor unveils gambling plan; Concord meets ‘criteria’
Story by Frank Rizzo
ALBANY May 10, 2013 Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday unveiled a resort gaming plan for upstate New York that at least one local politician believes brings hope of a full gaming casino situated at the Concord project.
“I was pleased to hear that many of the criteria Governor Cuomo put forward as a requirement for licensure are, at first blush, already met by the EPR/Empire Resorts project at the Concord,” Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) of the 100th district said in a statement. “The project already has preliminary site plan approval with final approval expected in the coming weeks, has already made a nearly $200 million investment, and has a project labor agreement already in place for construction as well as an agreement with labor unions representing future employees.”
Under Cuomo’s plan, upstate New York will be divided into six regions, with three resorts to be bid out. Only one resort would be eligible per region.
The governor noted that tourism is the state’s fifth largest economic component, “employing more than 700,000 people, generating $57 billion in spending and accounting for more than $7 billion in local and state tax revenue. “
Cuomo made note that for years New Yorkers flocked to neighboring states and wants to reverse that trend.
The governor would also keep the NYS Legislature out of the selection process by employing an Independent Selection Commission made up of real estate and financial experts and a financial advisor selected by the panel.
“It is crucial for one of these licenses to come to Sullivan County,” Gunther added. “The economic benefit to our struggling county would be tremendous for families, as well as small businesses and local farmers. This project will bring thousands of new tourists who will quickly realize all that Sullivan County has to offer whether it’s hiking through our beautiful area, taking in a concert at Bethel Woods or visiting one of our local distilleries or wineries.”
Empire Resorts Executive Vice President Charles Degliomini has told the Democrat that the resort is going ahead with its plans regardless of whether it receives a table gaming license.
Empire plans to transfer its “racino” license from Monticello Raceway to the new location in Kiamesha Lake when it completes the project next year.