Friday, March 30, 2018

Gov. Cuomo Refuses Bailout to Cash-Strapped del Lago Resort & Casino

Casino News Daily
Gov. Cuomo Refuses Bailout to Cash-Strapped del Lago Resort & Casino

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he is not supportive of a state commercial casino’s bid for a bailout. The top lawmaker was among the proponents of the legalization of commercial casino gambling in the state a few years ago.

Gov. Cuomo’s comments from earlier this week came shortly after del Lago Resort & Casino officials revealed that they were seeking assistance from the state after the gambling venue missed its first-year revenue projections by $100 million. While they did not provide details on the nature of help they were seeking from lawmakers, it is believed that they might have asked for a tax break.

Del Lago currently pays an annual tax of 37% on its slot machine revenue and a 10% one on table game revenue. The casino resort had its ribbon cut in February 2017. According to original forecasts, its casino floor was expected to generate revenue of $260 million during its first full year of operation. However, the gaming facility’s revenue eventually totaled $146 million at the end of that first year.

In a letter to Gov. Cuomo and New York State budget director Robert Mujica, Sen. Joe Griffo said that del Lago was seeking a tax break of around $14 million. The Senator further wrote that he did not support a bailout of this proportion, as the state had more pressing needs.

’Private Concerns’

Gov. Cuomo told local media earlier this week that the Upstate New York casinos were private concerns and that he did not want to “get into the business of bailing out private concerns.”

Del Lago officials have blamed the Seneca Nation for their casino’s failure to reach its gaming revenue goal. The tribe operates three casinos in the western part of the state. It used to share a portion of its gaming revenue with the state under a 2002 compact. However, it stopped making payments in 2016, arguing that the compact had expired.

Steve Greenberg, a spokesman for del Lago, said that the tribe has been using the portion of revenue it should have been sharing with the state to lure patrons with different offers and promotions. According to Mr. Greenberg, tribal casinos have thus been cannibalizing revenue from the state’s commercial casinos, hence del Lago’s call for assistance.

Casino officials have told lawmakers that the property generates enough revenue to pay the bills, but that it would likely face serious problems in the long-term if it is not treated to a bailout.

Rivers Casino, which opened doors in Upstate New York shortly after del Lago, is understood to have, too, turned to state lawmakers to seek a tax break. Rivers generated $151.8 million in gaming revenue during its first year of operation, falling well short of its target of between $180 million and $220 million.

The post Gov. Cuomo Refuses Bailout to Cash-Strapped del Lago Resort & Casino appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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