ALBANY – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation on Tuesday that will now put the issue of legalizing casino gaming before voters in November.
If it passes, it would pave the way for four destination casino resorts upstate including one, and the possibility of two, in the Catskills.
One of the hopefuls for a Catskills casino is the closed Nevele resort in Ellenville. The new owners are lobbying vigorously to get selected, said principal Michael Treanor.
“It is all about making sure that we are ready to go, that we get the vote out in November and that we have a great, great project, and I think we have all three of those things are going to happen,” Treanor said.
Empire Resorts, which has plans to build a large destination resort at the former Concord Hotel site in Kiamesha Lake with its partner, EPR Properties, is “uniquely positioned as the only project completing the process of obtaining necessary land use approvals and are a currently licensed gaming and harness racing operator,” said its executive vice president, Charles Degliomini. “This provides us with unparalleled speed to market in an effort to deliver what Sullivan County needs: jobs and tourism.”
Senator John Bonacic (R, Mt. Hope), chairman of the Senate Gaming and Wagering Committee, legalized gaming will create thousands of jobs and allow billions of dollars in investment. He said gaming can “substantially improve the Catskills economy.”
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D, Yonkers), chairman of the Assembly Gaming Committee, said destination resorts would mean “good news for the local communities, the local economies, and the people of our state.”
Aside from the Catskills region, the others where casinos would be allowed include the Capital District-Saratoga area, and the Central-Southern Tier.