ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State gambling regulators on Monday approved licenses for three new casinos under construction in the Catskills, Schenectady and the Finger Lakes.
The Gaming Commission's five members unanimously approved each without comment, concluding that principals and associates cleared criminal background checks and the applicants met environmental, legal and financial requirements.
That followed selection by a siting board last year of applications for the Montreign Resort Casino in the Sullivan County town of Thompson; the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady; and Lago Resort & Casino in the Seneca County town of Tyre.
The casinos have been projected to support more than 3,200 full-time jobs and generate $265 million in taxes, along with $136 million in licensing fees.
Lago Resort & Casino, a $425 million project, will include a spa, a 207-room hotel, restaurants, 2,000 slot machines and 85 gambling tables. Partners Wilmorite and Peninsula Pacific said Monday that construction continues and it's on track to open in the first half of 2017.
"We will bring new tourists to the Finger Lakes region to help wineries, breweries, farms and other local businesses grow," said Wilmorite Chairman Thomas Wilmot. He predicted creating 1,800 construction jobs followed by as many permanent jobs.
The Oneida Indian Nation, which operates Turning Stone Resort Casino about 65 miles to the east in Verona, said that Monday's decision was flawed and that most Lago revenue "will be cannibalized" from existing casinos. The tribe's attorney said they will go to court to try to stop it.
The Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor is part of a larger redevelopment effort at a formerly blighted industrial riverfront, where site work already began in anticipation of breaking ground. The $300 million project calls for a hotel, a high-end steakhouse, 66 gambling tables and more than 1,100 slot machines opening within two years.
"We look forward to beginning construction as anticipated, to bringing jobs to the Capital Region and to making Rivers Casino and Resort a successful economic engine," said Rush Street Gaming chief executive Greg Karlin.
The $630 million Montreign Resort Casino project includes an 18-story casino and hotel complex, meeting spaces and an indoor waterpark. Its developer, Empire Resorts, operates through a subsidiary of the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway. It's located at the site of the old Concord resort outside Monticello.
They have already put in roads, water and sewer lines and expect to pour foundations in January weather permitting, spokesman Charles Degliomini said Monday. Montreign will probably open in the spring of 2018, he said.
A fourth new casino in the Southern Tier has received siting board approval for expanding the existing Tioga Downs racetrack and slot parlor to include table games, a 161-room hotel, additional restaurants and a concert venue in Nichols, about 30 miles west of Binghamton.