HV rolls snakes eyes in casino expansion

You won't be able to roll the dice in Orange County after the state gaming officials denied six applications to build a new casino there.

The decision by the Gaming Facilities Location Board not to allow a casino in Orange County came as quite a surprise to many because people figured out of six applications, one was bound to be chosen. Proposed sites included the Town of Newburgh, New Windsor, Blooming Grove, Woodbury, Montgomery and Sterling Forest in Tuxedo.

Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy was visibly disappointed as state officials announced their decision regarding the building of casinos in New York. "Why did they even include Orange County and waste everybody's time in this whole thing?" asks Kennedy.

The prospect of a multimillion-dollar gaming resort had everyone's hopes up for much needed jobs, tax revenue and revitalization in the area. But the New York State Gaming Location Board said its decision was based on a mix of local opposition to the plans, environmental concerns, traffic and financial issues, plus location. "Because of their proximity to New York City, granting a license to any of the Orange County proposals would have resulted in the cannibalization of existing downstate gaming facilities, therefore we are not recommending the award of a license to any proposal in Orange County," explains Gaming Facilities Board member Kevin Law.

And while the decision may be a loss for Orange County, it's a big win for the Empire City Casino in Yonkers. Officials there were concerned another casino in such close proximity would mean big competition and possibly jeopardize the nearly 1,400 jobs Empire City provides. "We know different ones have different impact and the closer they are the more serious it is to us," says CEO Tim Rooney.

The state Gaming Location Board chose three locations to open full-scale gambling rather than the original four. They are in Schenectady, Thompson in Sullivan County and the third in Seneca County in the Finger Lakes Region.

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