Governor Paterson formally announced the compact with the Wisconsin-based Stockbridge-Munsee tribe, which will give up its claim on 23,000 acres in exchange for a 300-acre parcel in Sullivan County on which it plans to build a casino.
Tribe officials said once the casino and resort is built in Sullivan County, it would be the largest employer in the county, creating an estimated 4,600 jobs. It has an estimated economic impact of $715 million annually.Additionally, in an attempt to appease the nearby, and imperiled, Monticello racetrack and racino, he pledged $100 million to "help them with their expansion.”
The construction of the casino is expected to create about 8,100 jobs. [Ithaca Journal]
He did not elaborate; the state is facing a $9 billion deficit, so it remains uncertain how – financially and politically – the state could provide funds to Monticello. [Bloodhorse.com]Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo said that the current governor is "on firm legal ground in what he's doing."
"We don't anticipate any legal challenges." [Daily Politics]I think that the governor-elect may be the only person in the state who actually believes that (if he really does). The Oneida Nation, which has competing land claims with the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe, promised to "be seriously involved in opposing this deal at all levels."
And environmental groups are certain to file suit. One of those is the National Resources Defense Council. I quoted that group's New York director yesterday saying that the project faced long odds. His opinion on the topic is obvious, but still, his more detailed explanation of the hurdles that the plan faces is interesting reading and worth
First, the casino still requires a full environmental review under federal law to assess the heavy traffic, air and water pollution, as well as the destruction of the beautiful landscape, that this proposal would bring. Second, the federal Interior Department would have to agree to take the land into “federal trust” and approve gambling at this Catskills site – even though it rejected essentially the same proposal at the same Neversink River site three years ago, and there’s no indication that the Interior Department has changed its position. And third, because the deal settles outstanding land claims against New York State, it would need to get separate approval by Congress, federal officials and the New York State Legislature – hardly an easy task. [Switchboard - NRDC staff blog]Genting continues to be apoplectic about the plan.
"We are extremely concerned about the massive loss in VLT [video lottery terminal] revenue to the state that would result from the proposed Stockbridge-Munsee project, and its negative effect on our ability to further invest to create more jobs," said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Genting's Resorts World. [NY Post]I do wonder however if Genting's worry really is Aqueduct as much as Monticello, in which it holds a major share. They're not going to get nearly as much leverage complaining about that track as they would about their highly-publicized and long-awaited racino at the Big A. Tom Precious reported in his Bloodhorse.com piece:
State officials insisted there is plenty of room for competition between the planned Catskills facility and New York racetrack-based casinos.And, considering the resilience of slots-only business at Yonkers amidst recession and competition from already-existing full-blown casinos not all that much further away than Sullivan County, do you think that may be true?