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Monday, August 04, 2014

Monday Morning News and Notes

A couple of reader comments on Saturday's post are worth a read.

This reader discusses the SEQRA approvals that the casino applicants need, and a curious timeline set out by the Gaming Commission.  In the second set of questions and answers, the Commission states that, under its assumption that all of the applicants who have not yet completed the required environmental review will "timely commence" the process, "The award of the license by the Commission will occur after the requirements of SEQRA have been satisfied."  However, as the reader points out, while all of the Sullivan County applicants have completed the process, none of the Orange County bidders have done so at this time.  Therefore, the reader notes, presuming that, as indicated, the two Hudson Valley/Catskills licenses will be awarded concurrently, that the Sullivan bidders are effectively waiting for their Orange counterparts to complete the process.  "So, CLEARLY, the [Facility Location Board] is purposely tailoring their interpretation of the RFA to accommodate all the late-comers in Orange County."  Hard to argue with that logic.

The second commenter reviewed Genting's application for Tuxedo, and notes:

One of the most interesting parts of their Tuxedo proposal addressed the "disadvantaged areas" of the state that were supposed to receive the benefits of casino job creation. Genting actually believes that people from these disadvantaged areas will be able to commute 30-60 minutes and spend $10,000 per annum commuting. I guess they figure that the Gaming Commission is as bad at math and money management as most of their gambling patrons seem to be.
I had seen that in the Executive Summary and it's one of the more bizarre passages in a pretty bizarre document (as detailed here).  Genting actually delves deeper into the math behind their madness.  (All quotation marks and poor grammar is theirs.)
Residents of "disadvantaged areas of the State", whether is is in Sullivan, Ulster or Orange counties will be economically better off being employed in Sterling Forest Resort than a smaller gaming facility in their "disadvantaged area."  The additional costs to employees is the commuting, estimated by AAA at an all-in 46 cents a mile for small sedan and with average driving distance of say 50 miles for 200 working days, this is about $10,000 a year. [Redacted sentence for fear of offering some kind of 'competitive advantage.'] The drive time is between 30 to 60 minutes, similar to millions of people commuting in New York.
Note how they assume that anyone from a "disadvantaged area" would be driving say a small sedan!  Seems they have this all figured out.  Of course, this all assumes that Genting would be offering salaries at least $10,000 in excess of what a smaller gaming facility in the "disadvantaged area" would be able to offer.  If I'm doing my math correctly.

 - In the application for an East Greenbush casino by new BFF's Saratoga harness and Churchill Downs, it is noted that a successful bid there would hurt the existing racino in Saratoga.  
The Capital View casino is projected to generate total revenue of $220 million once it is fully operational. But the operators say a “substantial portion” of that revenue would come from Saratoga Casino’s existing customers.  Taking away from the racino’s customer base is expected to lead to a 48.2 percent decline — $90 million — in the facility’s annual revenue and result in an undisclosed number of job losses. [Daily Gazette]
They proceed to turn this into an argument in favor of a successful bid for their Capital View facility, as opposed to a different location that would also hurt the racino and result in job loss, since they could shift jobs from Saratoga.  
“It is reasonable to assume that there would be less erosion in jobs due to competition due to the common employment pool, reducing the revenue cannibalization impact across the region as a whole.”
That of course may come as a surprise to prospective job applicants in Albany and Troy who are living in "heartbreaking poverty," as noted in their Executive Summary; as well as those located in "pockets of distress" in East Greenbush.  Only so many jobs to go around in their 3-star, 100-room hotel.

 - Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, one of the three co-chairs of the Moreland Commission (and one of the two who did not issue coordinated statements last week to support the governor's position) is reported by the Daily News' Ken Lovett to be "assisting" the federal investigation.  
Rice has met multiple times with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose probers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the panel’s abrupt end and, specifically, whether the Cuomo administration interfered with the commission’s work, a source with ties to the commission said. [NY Daily News]
When asked if the statement by co-chair William Fitzpatrick represented Ms. Rice's view, a spokesperson said flatly: “It was not a joint statement.” 
Rice and Milt Williams, the commission’s third co-chair, were also described as none too pleased when the governor on Wednesday hinted that the two were on board with Fitzpatrick’s statement. “I’m sure if they had a different opinion you would have heard from them,” Cuomo said.
This is no doubt why Cuomo went so far during his disastrous (and, according to Preet Bharara's letter, possibly criminal) press conference last Monday as to try and portray Fitzpatrick as the "senior co-chair," even though there has never in fact been any such designation, as pointed out by the Times Union's Casey Seiler.  Nice try there, governor.  What else ya got?

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Moreland, I found this fact highly amusing:
The same guy that gave Rick Dutrow a milquetoast defense worthy of a public defender at NYSRWB and in the state courts, is apparently well connected enough to be the Moreland defense attorney in charge of turning over all documents to the US Attorney.
We knew the fix was in, and this shouldn't surprise anybody.