NY Board Advances New Casino Bidding for Southern Tier
"I think it's important to underscore neither of the two previous bids were suitable for the award."
The state's casino location board on Friday moved forward with new bidding from developers for a license in New York's Southern Tier.
The Gaming Facility Location Board accepted bid documents drafted by staff, though members noted that a winning bid will have to be better than two previously rejected proposals in the region.
"This offers a unique opportunity for a bid for just this territory," said Kevin Law, chairman of the five-member location board. "I think it's important to underscore neither of the two previous bids were suitable for the award."
Any new casino would have to be outside the gambling markets for those three or the exclusivity zones for existing casinos on Indian reservations, Law said. It will have to be private investment without taxpayer dollars, he said.
"Neither one of those proposals was strong enough in my opinion to have a reasonable chance of succeeding in the law the Legislature envisioned these things to succeed," board member Stuart Rabinowitz said. "I also want to emphasize the importance of competition. ... I don't think the Legislature or anybody else viewed this process as any one person or entity having an entitlement to this license."
Tioga Downs, the racino in Nichols, was one applicant. Developers behind the other proposal, Traditions in Broome County, have said they would support Tioga's project if bidding were reopened.
The board also accepted the 800-page report with detailed findings on all 16 applicants in earlier bidding. That resulted in December recommendations for new casinos in the Catskills, Schenectady and the Finger Lakes.
The state's Gaming Commission must still approve the new bidding, which is expected in the next few weeks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the board and commission to consider awarding a fourth license for a site in the economically challenged Southern Tier.
The commission currently conducting background investigations of the three winning bidders' principals, spokesman Lee Park said. The three are Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County, Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady and Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County.
The report was posted Friday on the commission's web site.