Report Predicts Upstate New York Casino Revenue Struggles

A gambling expert predicted back in 2014 that New York’s first commercial Las Vegas-style casinos would miss the ambitious gross gaming revenue projections they had put forward in a bid to convince state lawmakers and gambling regulators to award them the necessary gaming licenses.

Back in 2014, Clyde Barrow, Chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas, produced a report on the impact of the construction of four commercial casinos in Upstate New York on the existing horse race tracks and tribal casinos in the region. Professor Barrow said in his report that the new gambling venues would likely not be able to generate as much revenue during their first year of operation as they had promised.

According to the gambling expert, the casinos would cannibalize proceeds from each other and from the other gambling venues in the region, instead of producing new revenue.

In an interview with local news outlet the, the University of Texas Professor pointed out that his projections for the future of Upstate’s casino industry have apparently proved quite right.

In 2013, the New York State Legislature approved the proposed construction of commercial casinos in Upstate. The New York State Gaming Commission then issued four licenses for commercially operated Las Vegas-style gaming venues in the northern part of the state. The first of the four facilities – Tioga Downs Casino – opened doors in December 2016. A little over a year after its launch, the venue is around $30 million behind its projected revenue for its first year of operation.

del Lago Resort & Casino and Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, which had their ribbon-cutting ceremonies in February 2017, are also well behind their projected first-year revenue forecasts. The former is expected to be around $100 million behind prognosis, while the latter will likely miss forecasts by $80 million.

New York’s fourth commercial casino – Resorts World Catskills is slated to open doors on February 8. It will be the largest of all four.

The Casinos’ Location – a Key Issue

According to Professor Barrow, the fact that all four commercial casinos are located Upstate is a major issue and a major contributor to the venues’ revenue struggles. The gambling expert said earlier this week that New York City and surrounding municipalities could have been much more suitable host to the four casinos.

Mr. Barrow further noted that the number of casino licenses issued would not have been an issue, if the right locations for the venues was picked. Back in 2013, when the casino matter was decided in the Legislature, lawmakers placed a moratorium on commercial casinos in New York City, but the Texas University scholar believes this might have been a major mistake.

While the three operational casinos are clearly struggling with generating their projected revenues, gaming officials have pointed out that revenue should not be the only indicator to be paid attention to, pointing to the jobs the venues have created, both temporary and permanent ones, and the tourists they have brought to Upstate New York.

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