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Operators blame saturated market for lacklustre NY casino figures

By Harrison Sayers
New York State's three new non-tribal casinos have revealed less than stellar revenue performance in 2017. The Tioga Downs opened its doors in December 2016, but having only reached a total of $46.3m in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) the company has failed to achieve their estimated intake by a third. Jeff Gural, the owner of the Tioga Downs Casino, blamed the saturation of the market as a result of too many casinos opening at the same time, leading to them all “competing for the same customers”.

The news comes not long after state Governor Cuomo threatened the Seneca Tribe with the opening of another casino in the Niagara area in an attempt to force them to restart their slot machine payments. Clearly this move wouldn’t only threaten the Seneca Tribe but could lead to further saturation of New York’s upstate gaming market and risk the very tax revenue which the Senator is seeking.

When talking to the press on Tuesday Governor Cuomo said: “These casinos are just starting. The variance with the projections doesn’t bother me that much. They have all been widely successful in creating jobs and building beautiful complexes.”

The other two new casinos also seem to be falling short of their predictions. The del Lago Resort & Casino and the River Casino and Resort in Schenectady both revealed short comings in their state revenues. Both companies had estimated a $59m-$86m taking for first year tax revenues to the state. However, the two have only generated slightly over $45m.

While Cuomo looks to defend his stance on the gaming industry it is undeniable that, upstate New York, pending a change in the casino gaming market, will fail to meet its proposed targets for both revenue and state tax income. The market, which already supports 12 tribal casinos, may not be large enough to provide the economic impact needed.

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