KINGSTON – State Senator John Bonacic (R- Mt. Hope) said if the governor’s proposal for no more than one casino in a region of the state, and only three in total to begin with is approved, the proposed facility at the new Nevele Hotel would be a dead issue.
Bonacic, who is chairman of the Senate Gaming, Wagering and Racing Committee, addressed the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce in Kingston on Tuesday. He told the business people that if one casino were to be placed in the Catskills region, it would likely go to Sullivan County, not Ulster. The EPR/Empire Resorts proposal for the former Concord Hotel site in Kiamesha Lake is believed to be the frontrunner.
Bonacic, who complemented Governor Andrew Cuomo for advancing the issue of legalized gaming, said he would like to tweak the plan to provide more detailed plans and more transparency. He also believes all seven regions where casinos would go should be listed because the more information given to voters, the more likely it would be for them to vote affirmatively for gaming.
The senator would also like to see the regions of the state realigned. Of the six Cuomo named, two are in Native American exclusivity zones and Bonacic thinks they should be taken out of the mix.
A gubernatorial gaming commission will ultimately select the sites for the casinos.