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Friday, April 25, 2014

22 21 (20?) Casino Hopefuls Pay to Play

Here's the list of the 22 21 casino applicants who have submitted their $1 million application fee.  (21 because Saratoga harness is applying for two licenses.)  And actually maybe only 20 if you consider that two are listed as joint ventures between Cordish and Penn National.

1.  Caesars Entertainment
2.  Capital Region Gaming, LLC
3.  Concord Kiamesha LLC and Mohegan Gaming New York LLC by DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP
4.  CRCR Enterprises, LLC (a joint venture between The Cordish Companies and Penn National
Gaming, Inc)
5.   Empire Resorts
6.   Florida Acquisition Corp by Clairvest
7.   Greenetrack , Inc.
8.   Grossinger Development Corporation
9.   Howe Caves Development LLC
10. Hudson Valley Gaming, LLC
11. Nevele-R, LLC by Nevele Resort, Casino & Spa
12. NYS Funding, LLC by Och-Ziff Real Estate
13. OCCR Enterprises, LLC (a joint venture between The Cordish Companies and Penn National
Gaming, Inc)
14. PNK Development 33, LLC by Pinnacle Entertainment
15. Rolling Hills Entertainment LLC by Baker Botts LLP
16. RW Orange County LLC by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
17. Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. (I)
18. Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. (II)
19. Tioga Downs Racetrack LLC
20. Trading Cove New York, LLC
21. Traditions Resort & Casino
22. Wilmot Casino & Resort by Wilmorite, Inc.

#16 is Genting.  They are applying for a casino in an undisclosed location in the Catskills/Hudson Valley region.  The Times reports today that one location they are considering is in Tuxedo, about 40 miles from Manhattan, making it the closest location to New York City under review.  Genting of course also has an interest through a subsidiary in the Empire Resorts (the Monticello harness track owner) proposal at the Concord.  So, I imagine that their partners in that venture are not too thrilled, unless they are trying to pull some kind of deke to dissuade others to ultimately, by the June 30 deadline to submit a full application, abandon their Catskills bid.

Similarly, hard to say exactly what Saratoga Harness is up to with their second bid, which was approved last night by the Town of Newburgh board.  It's becoming apparent that the real reason that James Featherstonhaugh resigned as president NYGA was because he would be acting contrary to the interest of other NYGA members.  Yonkers would certainly be negatively affected by a casino in Newburgh, just about 55 miles away.  And any casino located in the Hudson Valley area would darken the prospects of one in the Catskills, such as the one at the Concord.  But Feathers is trying to frame this proposal as one that would not harm a Catskills facility.  

James Featherstonhaugh, a partner in Saratoga, said the Newburgh location would not interfere with a casino in Sullivan County, unlike proposals at locations at the southern end of Route 17. The Hudson Valley Casino & Resort would also capture Connecticut gamblers, he said.
 That seems like a stretch.  However, it is my opinion that it is highly unlikely that a casino license will be approved for Orange County.  I believe it is a compelling argument that the intent of this whole exercise is to benefit areas upstate; that's the whole theory behind the (theoretical) seven year moratorium on a casino in NYC.  After all, the law that authorized the four casinos that are being bid for is called the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act.  When Cuomo signed it, he said: “Our focus has been to bring jobs and boost local economies in Upstate New York, where decades of decline have taken their toll in our communities."

Now, it's true that things aren't so great in, for example, Newburgh.  However, I don't believe that's what the governor had in mind as 'upstate.'  There have been efforts to revive the long-suffering Catskills region via gambling for decades now, and, while I certainly could be wrong, I believe that time has come, and that the region will take priority and get both licenses.  Despite what Feathers says, any destination casino resort in a location 60 miles from Manhattan is going to seriously threaten any located in the Catskills.  I believe that the sentiment in Albany will be tilted towards the latter.  And that the "independent" siting board consisting of 2/3rds Cuomo cronies will follow suit.  (Still waiting for the other two appointees.)

Three of the applicants are apparently mysterious.
While most developers have made their New York casino plans known in recent months, little was known about three of the applicants, including a fee submitted by a capital management group known as Och-Ziff.

A spokesman for the group did not return a call for comment Thursday.

Lee Charles, a partner at Baker Botts LLP, said the law firm wasn't authorized to comment on the plans of its client, Rolling Hills Entertainment LLC. Rolling Hills was one of the developers to submit the application fee.

Contact information for Hudson Valley Gaming, LLC -- another group that submitted a fee -- could not be found Thursday. [Democrat & Chronicle]
The governor couldn't help himself, and had to do a little crowing.  
 “The cynics said, ‘You’re not going to get the applications, people are not going to apply, the time is done, gaming is over the curve....I think you’ve actually had more interest and it’s gone better than people suspected it might early on.” [NYT]
 Yeah, whatever, governor.  I think that the cynicism was directed more regarding the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes region, which only attracted three bidders including Jeff Gural's Tioga Downs; the competitors there being the last two on the list, Traditions and Wilmot.  And the recent interest in Orange County is contrary to what he had in mind.  Let's see how this all shakes out when the minimum capital investment requirements are released next month; when the companies will really have to put their monies where their mouths and wallets are.

1 Comment:

kyle said...

Speaking of whatever. Capital OTB has a petition up for their bid. "By signing you're supporting jobs, revenue and lower taxes." Sound familiar? I was disappointed they left out an appeal to our love of children and puppies.