A recent report by credit rating agency Moody’s has examined the impact of casinos in upstate New York. As WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, the word used to describe the casino ecosystem is “cannibalization.”

Three casino projects in New York were chosen last December as part of a plan to boost the upstate economy but are still awaiting licenses after nearly a year.

Over the past year, the New York casino landscape went from a number of competing concepts to three projects preparing for launch. Observers are now speculating on the future of the state’s newest industry.

The race for the last upstate casino license has just one runner — a blunt-talking real estate tycoon trying his luck for a second time in New York.

Schenectady is preparing for the transformation of a former industrial area with the arrival a casino. During the planning stages, area residents are asking a lot of questions — from disputes over building designs to what's being done to address problem gambling.

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After this month’s announcement of three casinos now closer to being built in New York, officials from existing gambling operations are preparing for increased competition in a changing gaming landscape.

Empire Resorts/Montreign Resort Casino

Wednesday’s announcement by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board that it is recommending only one casino license for the mid-Hudson Valley/Catskills region means eight proposals are going home empty-handed. Sullivan County casino supporters are cheering, but there’s disappointment in Ulster and Orange Counties.

The New York State Gaming Commission's siting board says Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady should get the lone Capital Region license. At its meeting Wednesday afternoon, the board also gave the thumbs-up to the Lago Resort in the Finger Lakes region and the Montreign Resort Casino proposal in Thompson in Sullivan County.

Capital District Against Fracking

  It’s looking less and less likely that state Senators and Assemblymembers will get a pay raise as a holiday present this year, but Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers still have a number of issues they need to resolve before the year ends, ranging from the siting of gambling casinos to how to close a Thruway deficit and whether to go ahead with hydro-fracking.

On Dec. 17, New York's casino siting board may announce where the four upstate casinos will be located, and both gambling opponents and supporters are counting down the minutes. Some of the loudest opposition to a casino has come from East Greenbush in Rensselaer County, where the group "Save East Greenbush" will hear tonight from former Connecticut Congressman and casino opponent Robert Steele. Steele says the failure of the casino law repeal in Massachusetts on Election Day was not a great surprise.

Business leaders and several lawmakers in Westchester County say they oppose any casino for Orange County. They say a casino there would hurt racino operations in Yonkers.

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Less may be more when it comes to opening casinos in New York amid an increasingly competitive gambling environment.

More than a dozen contenders are proposing upstate casino projects. Developers say they've carefully studied the local market to ensure they don't overbuild.

That's a problem that's happened elsewhere as gambling options grow and customers favor casinos within a few hours' drive. This year, four casinos are closing in Atlantic City after facing increased competition from smaller casinos in nearby states like Pennsylvania.

Newburgh Elected Officials Push The Need For A Casino

Jun 23, 2014
WAMC, Allison Dunne

Two elected officials in Orange County have sent a letter to members of the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board, inviting them to tour an area they say needs a casino. At the same time, a new study is out on casinos in Sullivan County.

City of Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy acknowledged the Catskills’ need for a casino.

WAMC composite photo by Dave Lucas

Casinos top the list of issues that have been driving the area agenda. Governor Andrew Cuomo put the wheels in motion during his second State of the State address in 2012. "Let's amend the constitution. Let's do gaming right. Let's make it safe. Let's protect our people. Let's get the jobs back in New York."

The governor reasoned that building new gambling casinos would prop up New York's failing economy.   In November 2013, Cuomo's proposition was approved by voters, and  "casino chatter" has dominated the headlines ever since.

Nevele Resort, Casino & Spa

The team behind a proposed resort casino in Ulster County will unveil its final design and other details Thursday morning ahead of the June 30th application deadline for a state gaming license.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

In a hastily-called Wednesday afternoon press conference at City Hall, Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan announced the proposal for A casino that would have been built at Exit 23 of the NYS Thruway had come to halt.  Sheehan said the so-called "E23 project" was, in the developers opinion, not financially viable, and the developer is looking at Rensselaer - where will be a town board public hearing at Genet Elementary School at 7 p.m. and public comment will be heard regarding the proposed "East Greenbush Casino" that has the backing of Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Caesars Presents Orange County Casino Proposal

May 23, 2014

Representatives from Caesars Entertainment Thursday night unveiled some details of their proposed casino resort for Orange County for the first time in public. Area residents voiced more support than not. And the main focus was a longstanding concern in the area – traffic. 

Over the last few years, states in the region have tossed the dice on allowing for the development of Las Vegas-style casinos. Today, two development groups dropped out of the running to build a casino in upstate New York, and a new bidder has proposed a casino in the city of Schenectady.

NYS Casino Regulator Sets Minimum Investment Amounts

May 13, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) and (WAMC) — New York gambling regulators say developers proposing casinos in Orange County must commit to investing at least $350 million in the project.

Courtesy of Barry Lewis, Times Herald-Record

Times Herald-Record Metro Editor Barry Lewis recently penned a column entitled “Sullivan's not entitled to the casino it deserves”. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Lewis about what has become a casino contest between the Catskills and Orange County, as five developers have proposed resort casinos for Orange — most only recently.

Orange Legislature Supports Casinos

May 2, 2014

In New York, the Orange County legislature Thursday supported a resolution for the license approval and operation of casinos in its county.

The vote was 20-to-1. Republican Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus says the overwhelming support for the resolution sends the message that the potential for gaming as an economic catalyst across the region is great. He describes the casino proposals for Orange County as coming from Class A casino companies.

Newburgh Town Board Supports Casino Proposal

Apr 25, 2014
Saratoga Casino and Raceway

A town board in Orange County is backing the concept of locating a casino minutes from the New York State Thruway. This came during a special board meeting Thursday evening to hear a presentation from the developer.

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

Over the last few years, states in the Northeast region have tossed the dice on allowing for the development of Las Vegas-style casinos. Last week MGM asked for a delay in awarding the formal western Massachusetts casino license. This week, the owners of the Saratoga casino and raceway dropped their plans to bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Saratoga Springs.

Rep. Paul Tonko
Lucas Willard / WAMC

New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat representing the Capital Region, spoke with WAMC for an upcoming Congressional Corner segment on Thursday. He was asked about the many possible casino proposals being discussed within his district.

Gov. Cuomo Touts Agreement With Oneidas

Mar 11, 2014
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

The Oneida Indians have made their first payment of $11 million under a deal with New York state that guarantees the tribe exclusive territory for their central New York casino. A federal judge last week approved the deal reached with the Cuomo administration last May. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today the payment was made to Madison County and more money is forthcoming.

So What About The Proposals?

Nov 6, 2013

Well, Tuesday’s ballot proposal results are in;

Proposal One: Approved.

New York voters authorized seven Las Vegas-style casinos to be built to boost the economy.

With 60 percent of precincts reporting, the constitutional amendment was approved Tuesday 57 percent to 43 percent.

Six Amendments On Tuesday's Ballot In New York

Nov 4, 2013

There are six amendments on Tuesday’s ballot, ranging from whether New York should allow seven resort-style gambling casinos, to whether judges should be allowed to serve on the bench until the age of 80.

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

On Tuesday, New Yorkers will decide whether the state should allow up to seven new resort style casinos.  Supporters claim it’s not about  gambling, but new jobs. Opponents say that’s just spin.

WAMC/Allison Dunne

A number of business, labor, and elected officials joined together in Ulster County this afternoon to urge New Yorkers to vote in support of casino gambling in the state. A few opponents voiced their concerns as well.

Today casino operator Mohegan Sun unveiled a new architectural design for its proposed casino in Palmer, Massachusetts. The project would include a 250,000 square-foot casino, two hotels, retail space, a conference center, an outdoor pavilion, and an indoor-outdoor water park.