Upstate New York Casinos Not Paying Off?

Upstate New York has undergone a large casino expansion over the past few years. But the problem is that these investments aren’t paying off as planned. Del Lago Resort and Casino in Waterloo; Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady; and Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier all opened their doors in 2017. And none of […]

Upstate New York has undergone a large casino expansion over the past few years. But the problem is that these investments aren’t paying off as planned.

Del Lago Resort and Casino in Waterloo; Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady; and Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier all opened their doors in 2017. And none of them have come close to hitting their revenue targets.

These casinos are set to generate a combined $220 million less in revenue this year than expected. Del Lago has especially had a bad opening year, producing just $113 million against its $263 million projection.

This has many New Yorkers wondering if approving more casinos throughout the state is a good idea.

Casinos Have Provided Some Positive Changes

New York state officials argue that any revenue is good revenue for the towns that house the casinos. After all, the three casinos have generated $88 million in tax revenue, 80% of which heads to the state’s public schools. The rest is funneled into county and municipal governments.

These casinos have also provided jobs and improved the local economy. According to the New York State Thruway Authority, Exit 41 (del Lago’s location) has seen a 50 percent spike in traffic due to the casino. This has allowed a nearby restaurant named Magee Diner to expand and obtain a liquor license.

The addition of hotels will bring in more money, given that del Lago didn’t open their hotel until the summer, and Tioga Downs launched their hotel in December.

More Casinos in the Works

These casinos aren’t the last of New York’s expansion plans. Sullivan County’s $1.2 billion Resort World Catskills will open this March. And in seven years, the state can approve three more casinos around the New York City area.

According to the Syracuse Times, these casinos are causing gambling saturation throughout New York. The tribal-owned Turning Stone was once the only casino in the state when it opened 24 years ago. Now, there are 9 between Albany and Batavia, with more coming.

If these casinos have a difficult time surviving, then they’re likely to get a government bailout. After all, New York doesn’t want these establishments to fail and hundreds of jobs to disappear.

This happened in Delaware, when their three casinos demanded money from the state to stay open. When a Rhode Island casino went bankrupt in 2009, the state bought it and solid it to an investment group.

Despite the warning signs from other states, New York will proceed with these casinos as planned. But is it the right move?

 

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