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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gaming Commission Changes the Rules on Local Approval

The NYS Gaming Commission has issued a clarification regarding the requirement of local approval by the host communities of a casino.

"The identities of the potential gaming facility applicants have now been established. Accordingly, the board believes that for a host municipality resolution to be sufficient, such resolution should indicate support for the specific gaming facility within the jurisdiction of the host municipality.
For the guidance of bidders, we have provided a specific “resolved clause” which would meet the Host Municipality support requirement....

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that in furtherance of the above goals, Municipality X herby [sic] agrees to the location of Gaming Facility Y at premises within Municipality X.

As of today, the Board has received 23 Host Municipality Resolutions; only three (the Village of Johnson City; the Town and Village of Liberty; and the Town of Wawarsing)are acceptable as consistent with the standards contained within this Guidance.
Uh oh.  That is sure to send some of the bidders back to the drawing board, at least with respect to meeting this requirement.  That includes the proposed facility by Saratoga harness and Churchill Downs in East Greenbush.  The vote for that casino took place under shady circumstances, before the project had been announced publicly.  That will give East Greenbush residents who oppose a casino - of which there is an organized group - a chance to have their say.  Presumably, anyway.

Hilariously, this rather major "clarification" comes just after the deadline for applicants to request the return of their $1 million application fee.  Nice going there.  Two companies did submit timely requests to have their money returned.  One of them was Pinnacle Entertainment, which was interested in partnering with David Flaum to operate the E23 project in Albany.  However, Flaum announced last week that the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma would be the operator of that facility.  The two defections leaves a Kentucky Derby-sized field of 20.

Also worth noting that this new rule is sure to touch off a frantic flurry of local lobbying efforts by the bidders to have their host communities pass the required language of Gaming Facility Y at premises within Municipality X.  We, the public, however won't be party to the details of who is lobbying who, and at what expense.  That is due to the previously reported loophole in the law which exempts such disclosure in towns, hamlets, or communities with populations of less than 50,000.  All but one of the bidders would qualify for that exclusion.  So, nice going there, again.

 - Greenetrack CEO Luther Winn Jr visited the site of his proposed casino in New Windsor, in Orange County, near the Stewart International Airport (67 miles from the Empire State Building).  He was accompanied by former US Senator Alfonse D'Amato, whose lobbying firm is representing the company.  D'Amato is apparently not bothered by the allegations by shareholders that Winn has misused company funds to pay for personal vacations and cars.  (I wrote more about Greenetrack earlier this year in this post.)

 - A Saratoga Casino and Raceway executive had some really kind words for the city that hosts his racino.  Skip Carlson, a VP of something-or-other, told the Washington County Board of Supervisors:
“If the city of Saratoga Springs had embraced this project, they would have benefited — as the host community — $5.7 million....Does anybody know how much the city of Saratoga Springs now will receive? Zero. The City Council passed a resolution against us becoming a commercial casino ... and I think they sent a message that Saratoga’s closed for business.”  [Saratoga Wire]
I'll keep in mind that Saratoga is closed for business when I'm up at the races this summer.

 - The plans have been unveiled for a casino at the waterfront in Schenectday - the Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor.
 Galesi’s riverfront rehabilitation also includes a 124-room hotel and banquet facility, 304 apartment units and a supermarket. Previously, Buicko was targeting a film studio for the site but did not receive adequate funding from the state for California-based Pacifica Ventures to build a $69 million studio. [Daily Gazette]
A film studio?

 - The Rangers are doing pretty well, have I mentioned that?

1 Comment:

kyle said...

Skip Carlson has been at Saratoga Raceway forever. My guess would be he lives in Saratoga. To me, that kind of thing is the worst aspect to all this - the all encompassing cynicism that comes from the pro-casino side. They make outrageous, unsubstantiated promises; they play communities off against each other; they refuse to address, let alone accept, that people have sincere concerns about quality of life; and in place of actual debate they offer only caricatures and ridicule. Capital OTBs head of social media expressed the same type of ridicule toward the ignorant people of Bethlehem who oppose the E23 Project.