On March 1st of this year, upstate New York will welcome a brand new casino near Syracuse. Point Place casino is being opened by the Oneida Nation, their third establishment, following Yellow Brick Road Casino, and the locally famous Turning Stone Casino.
It spans about 65,000 square feet and will feature 500 slot games and 20 table games that make up their sleek gaming floor. The casino will also host several restaurants and bars for non-gamblers, or players wanting to take a break.
And while this news is exciting for players looking for a new scene, it marks the 20th establishment to open in upstate New York. The over-saturated market means that the casinos that are already struggling for revenue will have an even bigger, newer, more expensive threat.
In 2014, three new casinos won their bid. These were The del Lago in Waterloo, NY, Tioga Downs (a Racino that has existed since 2006, but wanted to convert to a full-blown casino) in Nichols, NY, and Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, NY.
They had big plans and dreams, and more importantly, big forecasted revenues. Tioga Downs, for example, had predicted gambling revenue of $103 million, but in its first 8 months only generated $52 million.
Clearly, that is well below the target revenue, but the owner of Tioga Downs, Jeff Gural, says, “The projections we had were wrong. The truth is, from an economic development standpoint, it’s been a huge success.”
But, Tioga is only the tip of the iceberg. Rivers Casino was predicted to make $222 million in its first year, but 7 months into the year had only made $82 million. Del Lago is even worse off, falling about $100 million short of its original prediction.
So, does that mean Point Place is doomed for failure before it’s even begun? Jeff Babinski of del Lago doesn’t think that everything is as it appears. He says, “Our new hotel has been extraordinarily well received, and we are filling rooms with tourists who are visiting the attractions and businesses throughout the Finger Lakes.”
And monetary revenue isn’t the only sign of success. The long-term implications of the revitalization of the community and bringing lots of new jobs to the area can’t be ignored. Point Place held a job fair late December 2017, to encourage locals to check out what the casino’s presence can do for them and their families.
Del Lago, in late 2017, states that they are a big factor in the recent dip in unemployment from 4.8 percent to 3.9 percent in Seneca County.
Time will tell how Point Place will do in the already over-saturated casino market of upstate New York, but the more recent casino openings of Tioga Downs, Rivers Casino, and del Lago can give us an indication and an expectation to follow.
While monetary revenues are very important, given that the Point Place Casino will cost roughly $40 million to build, the more unconventional revenues such as regional economic stimulation via hundreds of new job openings cannot be ignored.
The March opening is highly anticipated by all, and I cannot wait to see what the casino has to offer.
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