New York has taken a gamble regarding their initiative for casino expansion, but it doesn’t look like the risk is paying off. The three new casinos include the Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, and the Lago Casino in Waterloo. None have produced the expected revenue.
This year’s revenue from the three casinos is estimated at $220 million lower than the state regulators were promised. Del Lago fell short of their projection of $263 million with the first nine months of gambling revenue at $113 million.
The casino owners and state officials feel any new revenue generated by the casinos is beneficial for the communities. Over $88 million was raised with table games and slots, and eighty percent goes to New York’s public schools.
The activity has boosted the local economy and provided jobs. There has been a fifty percent increase in traffic near Del Lago since the opening of the casino. The Magee Diner is expanding due to their close location to the casino, and have applied for a liquor license.
The Gaming Commission of New York State is quelling concerns regarding the shortage of revenues. They stated future earnings can’t be discerned in this length of time. The casinos are adding hotels, and this is expected to increase revenue. Del Lago opened during the summer, and Tioga Downs opened their hotel on December 1st.
More casinos are being built. Sullivan County’s Resort World Catskills is one of the final four casinos the state approved in 2014. The $1.2 billion casino is due to open in March. Three additional casinos will be approved by the state over the next seven years. These are expected to be near New York City. Several new casinos will be built first by the regional Indian tribes
If New York is oversaturated by casinos, this could cause problems for Tioga Downs, Rivers, and Del Lago. Turning Stone was the only casino land-based in the state 24 years previously. There are currently nine between Albany and Batavia with more expected. The partnership between casinos and the state is strong. Casino license fees and tax revenues total in the hundreds of millions. Hundreds of people gain employment, and the state governments are not going to allow the casinos to fail simply due to financial hardship.
The Saratoga Casino Hotel is asking for help due to the competition from Schenectady’s Rivers casino. The response of the state was the amendment of a tax law so four percent of the net winnings could be used for capital improvement. The relief deal is temporary, and to the South just thirty miles is Rivers casino.
New York has already begun to do what the casino’s proponents promised would not happen. They are using the money from the taxpayers as a subsidy for their gaming facilities.