The call is out for help, but it doesn't appear anyone will answer the need del Lago has to help balance its books.
The call is out for help, but it doesn’t appear anyone will answer the need del Lago has to help balance its books.
On Wednesday, the resort and casino said it faces an unfair competitive disadvantage as the Seneca Nation stopped making payments to both New York State and local governments last year.
The spokesperson for del Lago Resort and Casino said the Seneca Nation was using more than $50 million to provide additional promotions and incentives, particularly in the Rochester area, to lure customers from del Lago.
“When del Lago sought, competed for, and obtained its license, the competitive field was different than it is now. The Seneca Nation has stopped paying the state and local governments, they did that almost simultaneously to when del Lago opened,” said Steven Greenberg, the del Lago spokesperson.
The Seneca Nation responded. It’s spokesperson, Philip Pantano, said, “the owners of del Lago had unrealistic expectations when they applied for their gaming license. Despite various concerns that were raised, the project was approved by the State. Del Lago's estimates were that they were going to take significant market share from both the Seneca Nation's operations in Western New York and from the Oneida operations in Central New York. On top of that, their projections also called for significant new outside revenue. Which of those promises did they fail to live up to? The numbers don't lie. The projections haven't materialized, falling short by some 44 percent, and now, del Lago is turning to the State to fund their failure to meet their own goals. That’s their fault, not ours."
The Seneca County Manager, John Sheppard, tells News10NBC that del Lago remains the biggest employer in the county.
The county received $2.1 million dollars from gaming distributions for del Lago in 2017.
“Since its opening, del Lago Resort & Casino has had a positive impact on both the Seneca County community and the greater Finger Lakes region. To date, they have made significant contributions in every area that was promised to our county’s taxpayers. Their presence has helped grow monthly visitation to our community’s thruway exit by nearly 43 percent, their jobs have dropped the unemployment rate in our county to one of the lowest in the state and more than $4.5 million has already been infused into local revitalization efforts,” said Robert Shipley, Chairman Seneca County Board of Supervisors
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb released a statement saying, “as of right now, specific details of their request haven’t been presented to me. Certainly, the region wants to see Del Lago succeed. But we recognize there are challenges in the marketplace. For me, or any member of the Legislature, we have to see specifics in order to make an informed decision.”
Senator John DeFrancisco said, “New York families work hard for their money. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to bailout a failing casino that just opened with so much fanfare from Mr. Cuomo.
“This casino developer pushed to have a New York casino for years, including on the Syracuse state fairgrounds, so he knew exactly what he was getting into. If he’s losing money, that’s his problem to fix, not the taxpayers’.
“I don’t care how much the casino developer gave Governor Cuomo for his reelection campaign. Not a dime in tax dollars should go to a casino bailout. Let the free market settle this.”
Governor Cuomo said he is not willing to bail out a private business.
He said those private casinos have made an investment, and they do not get sympathy for their business not doing as well as they hoped.
He said he understands casinos and gaming generate economic development, with billions of dollars in construction and hundreds of jobs created. However, he said he does ‘not want to get into the business of bailing out private concerns.’