Casinos in the Catskills... finally? - New York News

Casinos in the Catskills... finally?

Posted: Updated:
People gamble at the Monticello Casino and Raceway in Monticello, N.Y., November 6, 2013. (AP photo/Seth Wenig) People gamble at the Monticello Casino and Raceway in Monticello, N.Y., November 6, 2013. (AP photo/Seth Wenig)

MICHAEL HILL | AP

MONTICELLO, N.Y. (AP) — After decades of waiting, Catskills residents who believe casinos can revive long-gone tourist traffic think they may finally hit the jackpot.

"It will bring a lot of jobs — bring the town, county and region back to what we were at one time," said town of Thompson supervisor Anthony Cellini, who has been trying to land a local casino for almost 40 years. "We were the hospitality capital of the Northeast, and we'd like to be that way again."

Generations ago, hotels and bungalow camps in the lake-laden area were packed each summer with tourists — many of them Jewish families from the New York City area. But the crowds thinned out by the '70s. Promises of landing a casino have been like a three-card monte game played out for decades. The money card never came up until Tuesday, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that authorizes seven Las Vegas-style casinos. Two will be in the Catskill-Hudson Valley region, where some potential sites include old Borscht Belt hotels.

The development can't come soon enough for some of the shopworn towns in this upstate area. In Monticello, Brian Fleischman stood on a faded stretch of Broadway while on break from his job at the Monticello Bagel Bakery. He hopes casinos can revive the area.

"We've been hearing it for 40 years already and nothing happened," he said. "And now finally it's getting approved and I think it's a great thing."

Many of the plans unveiled so far would be on the sites of some of the grand old Borscht Belt hotels. Scott Butera, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort and Casino, said Tuesday he and his partners at the Muss Organization will seek a license in Liberty at the site of the old Grossinger's hotel, 90 miles northwest of New York City.

"It's a nice, easy drive from the city," Butera said.

In nearby Thompson, which includes Monticello, Cellini said there are three shovel-ready casino proposals in his town. Two of them would be at the site of the old Concord hotel. Empire Resorts, which operates video slots at the Monticello harness track, is proposing a $600 million casino resort on the site of the old Concord Hotel with EPR Properties.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cuomo spoke to a highly appreciative crowd of supporters at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the Catskills music venue built on the original site of the 1969 Woodstock concert. The governor said passage of the casino referendum will "fundamentally change the trajectory of the Catskills."

"We finally have a magnet for attracting tourists from downstate, from New York City," he said.

The ballot proposition passed with 76 percent of the vote in Sullivan County and 60 percent in Ulster County, according to unofficial results. The results were split in two other counties with potential sites, with 54 percent in Saratoga County voting no and 69 percent in favor in Tioga County.

In Monticello, Gary Sommers said the amendment was a good thing for the area. But he said now it's important to make sure the coming casinos are not self-enclosed entities that keep customers — and their money — inside the resorts.

"I don't want to see Monticello turn into something like the back streets of Atlantic City," Sommers said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • New York suggests summer shutdown for Indian Point

    New York suggests summer shutdown for Indian Point

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:08 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:08:24 GMT
    A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors.
    A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors.
  • Ron Howard sells Connecticut-New York estate for $27.5 million

    Ron Howard sells Connecticut-New York estate for $27.5 million

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:47 PM EDT2014-07-25 18:47:39 GMT

    Now that they're empty-nesters, Ron Howard and his wife have sold their nest straddling the New York and Connecticut state line for $27.5 million. Howard and his wife, Cheryl, bought the Conyers Farm estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Armonk, New York, in 1991 and spent years constructing the house and outbuildings.


    Now that they're empty-nesters, Ron Howard and his wife have sold their nest straddling the New York and Connecticut state line for $27.5 million. Howard and his wife, Cheryl, bought the Conyers Farm estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Armonk, New York, in 1991 and spent years constructing the house and outbuildings.


  • Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:35 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:35:36 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Maryland casino to interview workers from closing Atlantic City casinos

    Md. casino eyes workers from closing Atlantic City casinos

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:32:23 GMT
    AP photoAP photo
    A Maryland casino is looking to hire some of the soon-to-be-jobless Atlantic City casino workers. Maryland Live! is holding job fairs next week at the Sheraton hotel across from the Atlantic City Convention Center. The Hanover, Maryland casino held a similar recruitment effort in January when The Atlantic Club shut down.
    A Maryland casino is looking to hire some of the soon-to-be-jobless Atlantic City casino workers. Maryland Live! is holding job fairs next week at the Sheraton hotel across from the Atlantic City Convention Center. The Hanover, Maryland casino held a similar recruitment effort in January when The Atlantic Club shut down.
  • Lyft to start New York City service after deal with officials

    Lyft to start New York City service

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:06:49 GMT
    The on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft says it is starting limited service in New York City after reaching agreement with state and city officials to resolve regulatory issues. New York's attorney general and Department of Financial Services say the company agreed to operate "in full compliance" with existing laws and regulations, and that it will start its city service Friday night with commercial drivers only.
    The on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft says it is starting limited service in New York City after reaching agreement with state and city officials to resolve regulatory issues. New York's attorney general and Department of Financial Services say the company agreed to operate "in full compliance" with existing laws and regulations, and that it will start its city service Friday night with commercial drivers only.

  • Another company to give family free cruise

    Family of 5-year-old with cancer upset with cruise line

    Family of 5-year-old with cancer upset with cruise line

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:44 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:44:05 GMT
    A Long Island family is upset that a cruise line won't accommodate them after their 5-year-old son had to have emergency surgery for cancer. Nicolas Colucci and the rest of his family was supposed to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway.
    A Long Island family is upset that a cruise line won't accommodate them after their 5-year-old son had to have emergency surgery for cancer. Nicolas Colucci and the rest of his family was supposed to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices