After reviewing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request, the board approved a motion to launch a new request for proposals for a fourth casino in the Southern Tier.
Cuomo wrote to the board on Dec. 26 and requested it grant a fourth and final upstate casino license to the Southern Tier after it was passed over for a casino in the Finger Lakes.
Board members met in New York City Tuesday night where they made the decision. In a five to zero vote, the board reversed itself and declared New York’s Southern Tier and the state ready for a fourth Las Vegas-style casino – if the right proposal comes forward.
“We are unanimous in our belief that the Capital Region will not be reopened. The Catskills Hudson Valley Region will not be reopened. Our decision in the Finger Lakes Region will not be reopened. All we are entertaining here tonight is the reopening of a new bid for that Southern Tier Region,” said Chairman Kevin Law.
The decision comes a month after the board declined to recommend fourth casino, considering the state faced better odds if it licensed three full-scale casinos instead of four, as New York voters approved in 2013. The board was able to recommend four locations in December but only casino proposals in Schenectady County, the Town of Thompson in Sullivan County, and the Finger Lakes Region, were chosen.
The decision renews hope for Jeff Gural, owner of Vernon Downs, as he announced his plans to resubmit his proposal to expand Tioga Downs near the Pennsylvania border from a racetrack and video gaming site into a casino with table games and a hotel.
But the board said that plans already submitted and rejected are very unlikely to make the cut. “Let’s see what else and who else may want to bid a casino in the region,” Law said at tonight’s meeting in New York City.