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Southern Tier Decision To Be Discussed

Published: January 9, 2015 1:51 pm ET

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On Friday, January 9, officials with the New York Gaming Commission and Gaming Facility Location Board issued statements in regard to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request for a review of the December 2014 decision on the granting of gaming licences in the state.

News of the commission’s review came earlier this week. The report stated that Jeff Gural, who operates Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier, was been encouraged by the development.

On December 17, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board announced the three destination gaming resorts which will be considered for commercial casino licences by the New York State Gaming Commission.

It did not take long for Gural to voice his displeasure with the board’s decision, as he fired off some very terse comments after the decision was announced.

It was announced less than a week later that Gural was partnering with a former rival in an attempt to land a casino licence for Tioga Downs.

In the statements issued on January 9, Gaming Facility Location Board Chairman Kevin Law said that he and his fellow Board members stand behind their decision, but that they would “entertain the Governor’s request to issue a new Request for Application” for the region.

Law’s statement appears below.

I have reviewed the Governor’s letter with my fellow Board members. We all agree that our recommendation of Lago for the Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region was appropriate and that it would not have been appropriate to recommend either of the remaining regional Applicants as submitted last year.

Nevertheless, we are willing to entertain the Governor’s request to issue a new Request for Application for this region, given the recommendation of Lago in the Finger Lakes region could encourage proposals from new applicants in the Southern Tier region. However, the Board will not consider opening up either the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region or the Capital Region to additional Applications.

Accordingly, we plan to hold a meeting on the evening of January 13 in Manhattan to discuss this matter and review our final findings and report from our December 17, 2014 selections.

New York Gaming Commission Chairman Mark D. Gearan also issued a statement regarding the situation and said, in part, that he has “spoken with Gaming Facility Location Board Chairman Kevin Law and told him the Commission looks forward to working with the Board on this matter.”

Gearan’s statement appears below.

My fellow Commissioners and I have reviewed the Governor’s December 26, 2014 letter asking the Gaming Commission and the Gaming Facility Location Board to consider issuing a new Request for Application for the fourth and remaining gaming facility license in the Southern Tier.

We are grateful for the diligence and professionalism of the Gaming Facility Location Board and their impressive commitment to public service.

The intent of the gaming statute was to benefit economically distressed Upstate areas experiencing high levels of unemployment. Clearly, the Southern Tier meets this criterion. A process to generate new proposals focused on the Southern Tier may create an additional opportunity to identify an appropriately structured and capitalized gaming facility that could bring the region important economic development and employment.

I have spoken with Gaming Facility Location Board Chairman Kevin Law and told him the Commission looks forward to working with the Board on this matter.


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