Orange County looms over Catskills casinos
By MICHAEL HILL
ALBANY — As the field of bidders for a Catskills casino shrinks, a remaining developer said June 17 that his group's plans will not be possible if another casino is approved in a neighboring county closer to New York City.
Michael Treanor said financing for his group's proposed casino on the site of the former Nevele resort in Ulster County will be contingent on there not being a casino in Orange County. Treanor echoed two recent dropouts for a Catskill casino license who cited the difficulty of building if a competing casino is approved closer to the massive city market.
“It is a very challenging environment for financing with the prospect of an Orange County casino," Treanor said.
A state siting board set a June 30 deadline for applicants seeking one of up to four upstate casino licenses to be granted this fall under a gambling act approved last year.
Proponents for the Catskills believe one or two casinos could boost the economy in an area that has struggled since its tourist-rich “Borscht Belt" heyday. But they became alarmed when applicants earlier this year unveiled competing proposals in southern Orange County, a more populous and prosperous area closer to the massive city market.
“This act was clearly done to stimulate upstate New York and to develop these economically distressed areas, and we hope to continue to make that case," said Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Grossinger Etess.
The Mohegans are involved in one of two bids to build a casino by the site of the old Concord resort in Sullivan County. Empire Resorts vice president Charles Degliomini said his group's Sullivan County bid also is moving forward.
The Nevele was the only Ulster County bid. Treanor said the group intends to show in its filing that it has the financing as long as there are no Orange County casinos.
The team of Foxwoods and Muss Development said the prospect of an Orange County casino made financing impossible as it dropped plans to build a casino at the site of the old Grossinger's resort in Liberty in Sullivan County. Earlier this month, Trading Cove and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Wisconsin said they would not bid for a license in the Sullivan County town of Thompson.
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